Belfast Telegraph

Relief as dissident death threats to Derry council safety wardens lifted

By Nevin Farrell and Donna Deeney

Terrorist death threats against community safety wardens in Londonderry have been lifted.

Trade union Nipsa said last night the threats from dissident republicans to the lives of 12 council employees had been lifted.

A well-placed source confirmed the issue had been resolved.

There was widespread public disgust after dissident republicans issued threats to Derry City Council employees who help keep the city streets safe last week.

The staff were taken off duty over fears for their security.

Unions warned at the weekend that they would collectively withdraw public services unless the threats were lifted.

Derry City Council Mayor Brenda Stevenson told the Belfast Telegraph: "These threats were unacceptable and I am hopeful they have been lifted, but we want to get the full detail first."

Alan Law of public sector union Nipsa said: "Nipsa welcomes the removal of the threat against the Community Safety Wardens and looks forward to an urgent meeting with Derry City Council to ensure that the staff return to work without further delay.

"We reiterate that public sector workers have the right to work free from threats and intimidation." Mr Law said that as a result of the developments a planned protest in Guildhall Square today at lunchtime would now not take place.

A source told the Belfast Telegraph: "The issue has been resolved after a series of meetings involving councillors and community groups. The issue of why the threat was made in the first place was examined and clarification has been given on the role of the safety wardens."

Despite widespread condemnation of the threats, 'the IRA' issued a weekend statement reiterating its threat to the council employees, and widening it to include anyone it deems to be "actively or passively assisting Crown Forces".

The sinister earlier statement warned that any person targeted by the IRA can "expect the same fate as a British police officer or soldier".

Council officials held emergency meetings at the weekend with political leaders and trade union officials to discuss the statement.

On Thursday, about 80 people protest outside Derry City Council's offices to show their opposition to the threat.

Quotes

“We are not going back to the days of the past of living in fear and intimidation, we need to stand together and tell these people that we will not tolerate their threats.

“We want this ongoing intimidation to end immediately and assurances put in place that will allow council staff to work to serve their local communities.”

Derry City Council chief executive Sharon O’Connor

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