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Bomb attacks rise prompts plea for extra resources

By Deborah McAleese

A significant rise in bomb attacks in Northern Ireland has sparked fresh demands for more resources to tackle the terrorist threat.

Police and the security services are currently dealing with a 40% rise in bombing incidents.

In the most recent a bomb was found on the Glendun Road in the tourist town of Cushendun.

Army bomb experts were called in yesterday morning. The device was taken away for further examination.

Sinn Fein MLA for East Antrim Oliver McMullan said there was no support for those behind the latest alert. "Cushendun is a quiet town which is, however, a popular visiting spot for tourists at this time of year," he said. "For anyone to leave an explosive device on one of the main roads in and out of the town is sheer recklessness and shows absolute disregard for the residents of this town and passers-by."

According to PSNI statistics the number of bombing incidents across the province rose by 44% in the past year. In the past 12 months there were 52 bomb attacks compared to 36 incidents in 2014/15. These incidents include devices which exploded or were defused.

Last week, Home Secretary Theresa May, on MI5 advice, raised the threat level to Britain from Northern Ireland-related terrorism to 'substantial'.

Policing Board member Ross Hussey urged the Government to ensure the security services have all the resources they need to combat the threat.

The Ulster Unionist MLA said: "It is essential that a robust security response is available, and that organisations and agencies such as the police, the intelligence services and the National Crime Agency have all the resources they need to not just meet the threat, but to remove it from our midst entirely."

The Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file PSNI members, recently warned that rising violent crime and the terrorist threat put an extreme burden on officers.

"Grappling with rising violent crime rates and a continuing and persistent dissident republican terrorist threat are placing an inordinate strain on officers," explained Federation chairman Mark Lindsay.

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