Belfast Telegraph

Dissidents 'holding community to ransom' in Lurgan disturbances

Rioting in Lurgan was orchestrated by dissident republicans, MP David Simpson said.

He said they were holding the community to ransom after police escaped injury when at least one shot and more than 100 petrol bombs were aimed at them.

"The kind of violence witnessed over the weekend was absolutely disgraceful, and for police to come under gunfire highlights just how serious this trouble was. It would seem clear that dissident republican terrorists are responsible for this trouble, particularly given the prolonged and orchestrated nature.

"Those who engage in terrorism and violence today are merely emulating those who attempted to use such failed tactics in the past. There can be little doubt that the continued glorification of past terrorism plays into the hands of those who hold the community to ransom today."

Policing Board chairwoman Anne Connolly said officers were faced with a very menacing situation.

"Police are clear that the violence was orchestrated and we are grateful that no-one was injured."

Sinn Fein representative Catherine Seeley said those behind the attacks have no political vision or strategy.

"It is completely and utterly futile.

"It is important to point out that this does not reflect the views of the community of the north Lurgan area, most of whom, I am sure, would strongly agree that those responsible should stop immediately and allow the community to live in peace."

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland, which represents rank and file officers, expressed concern that approaching the centenary of the Easter Rising dissidents would attempt an escalation in threat.

Chairman Mark Lindsay said: " The attackers were marshalled, driven by hate and some misplaced ideas.

"All they do is cause mayhem and disruption to the local community. Local people value our efforts to maintain law and order and simple normality, because they know that an attack on our officers is an attack on them.

"The people who are out to fulfil some ridiculous pipe dream don't care about the upset they cause local people.

They need to be condemned and ostracised. We need to put these would-be killers out of business and, for that, we need the help of the community."


From Belfast Telegraph