Belfast Telegraph

Continuity IRA 'intent on killing police officer' says Chief Constable

PSNI at the scene of the attack on the Cavan Road in Fermanagh on Monday
PSNI at the scene of the attack on the Cavan Road in Fermanagh on Monday

The PSNI Chief Constable has said that the Continuity IRA has "come back to the fore" and is intent on killing a police officer.

Simon Byrne made the comments on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday.

The Chief Constable was speaking after dissident republicans targeted police in a bomb attack near the Irish border on Monday.

Police said an explosion near Wattlebridge in Fermanagh was an attempt to lure officers to their deaths.

They believe it may have been carried out by the Continuity IRA or the New IRA.

The Chief Constable said he was concerned at the "tempo and pace" of dissident republican attacks that he believed the Continuity IRA "have come back into the fore".

"They are clearly intent on murdering one of my officers who are only going about their job to try and protect the public," Mr Byrne said.

"There are a small number of individuals here who are still intent on using terror to frighten people to their core."

He described the lack of political progress at Stormont as "unhelpful" and that the PSNI had become a "shock absorber for failure elsewhere" as a result.

The Chief Constable said it was a "really dangerous situation to be in".

Simon Byrne
Simon Byrne

"My priority is to deal with the day-to-day operational challenges of providing a good service to communities right across Northern Ireland, but the vacuum certainly isn't helpful," he said.

Mr Bryne also criticised the lack of political certainty around Brexit.

He said the "speculation around different forms of Brexit and the political uncertainty in Northern Ireland" had "become a sort of breeding ground for dissident hate towards my staff".

In June the New IRA accepted responsibility for placing a bomb under a senior police officer's car outside an east Belfast golf club.

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