| 5.1°C Belfast

'Cruel and disgusting' posters of dissident bomb victim Peadar Heffron condemned by police


Former police officer Peadar Heffron was injured in a dissident bomb

Former police officer Peadar Heffron was injured in a dissident bomb

Stephen Hamilton

Former police officer Peadar Heffron was injured in a dissident bomb

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton has hit out at "cruel and disgusting" posters which feature an image of a police officer injured in a dissident republican bomb attack.

It is believed the posters erected in Londonderry, which feature an image of Peadar Heffron, are an attempt to intimidate people considering a career with the PSNI.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “These posters can only be described as cruel and disgusting and have clearly been created by those who fear a fully representative police service.

“The cowards who hide behind this fake rhetoric and who ridicule the resolve, commitment and bravery of every person who works every day to keep each of you safe, have nothing to offer our society and should be condemned by all right thinking people.

“I would urge anyone who comes across these posters, either online or physically, not to share or circulate this material further.”

Mr Heffron suffered life-changing injuries in an under-car bomb attack in 2010.

Due to the severity of his injuries, his right leg had to be amputated.

Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson condemned those behind the posters, saying they were crass and offensive.

“Those responsible for erecting these posters have nothing to offer, they have no politics and no strategy to achieve anything," the Foyle MLA said.

“It’s well past time they got off the backs of the community.

"This tactic is disgusting and disgraceful and comes from an unrepresentative groups with little support in the community.

"Everyone should have the right to choose their career path free from any fear or intimidation.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also condemned those behind the posters.

"Those responsible for erecting these posters have nothing to offer the people of the North and they must get off the backs of the local community," he said.

“The SDLP is resolutely committed to a diverse and inclusive PSNI, which serves the whole of our community. Anyone should have the right to follow their chosen career path without fear of intimidation or attack.”

DUP MLA Gary Middleton added: "The PSNI is a police service for everyone in Northern Ireland. Constable Peadar Heffron served the entire community and these disgusting images cannot undo his service or that of current police officers and staff, from whatever background they come.

"Dissident elements will not succeed in their attempts to take us backwards. These posters however demonstrate once again the importance of a united community stance, not just in opposition of those who would threaten or use violence, but pro-actively in support of choosing policing as a career."

It comes after Sinn Fein revealed that deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill and MLA Gerry Kelly have been informed by police that dissident republicans are threatening to attack them.

The threat is thought to be in relation to Ms O'Neill and Mr Kelly's attendance at a PSNI recruitment earlier this month.

Sinn Fein's attendance at the policing recruitment event was seen as groundbreaking, given the party's historically uneasy relationship with the police.

While Sinn Fein has supported the PSNI since 2007, the party has declined to attend passing out parades for new recruits.

In 2015 an attempted bomb attack was launched at a Londonderry hotel that had been due to host a PSNI recruitment device.

The device was recovered within the grounds of the Waterfoot Hotel.

Two men were subsequently jailed for the attempted bombing.

Belfast Telegraph