Belfast Telegraph

'No going back' is the message at Derry rally against the dissidents

The scene of Saturday night's car bomb outside Bishop Street courthouse. The attack and subsequent security alerts has prompted trade union Nipsa to organise a protest rally in the city
The scene of Saturday night's car bomb outside Bishop Street courthouse. The attack and subsequent security alerts has prompted trade union Nipsa to organise a protest rally in the city
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A rally opposing dissident republican violence will take place in Londonderry tomorrow in the wake of the weekend car bombing.

It has been organised by trade union Nipsa following a series of attacks, disruption and threats in recent weeks.

These culminated in the explosion outside the courthouse in Bishop Street on Saturday night, which has been blamed on the New IRA.

The same organisation was thought to be behind security alerts across the city on Monday, sparked after vehicles were hijacked at gunpoint and abandoned.

It led to the Housing Executive and Royal Mail withdrawing services from parts of Derry, although these were restored yesterday.

Nipsa president Patrick Mullholland said: "In the wake of Saturday's bombing at the courthouse in Derry, and subsequent paramilitary and police activity in the city, public sector union Nipsa, which represents staff at the courthouse, has initiated a protest in opposition to paramilitarism, sectarianism and repression under the slogan 'No going back'

"Those who carried out Saturday's bombing in Derry aim to drag us back into futile conflict.

"Their actions achieve nothing but whipping up sectarian tension and potentially legitimising attacks on democratic rights. The bombing put the lives of ordinary people at risk, including Nipsa members.

"The trade union movement - representing workers from all backgrounds - has a proud tradition of standing up against sectarian forces from all sides, especially when workers are under threat."

He added: "We've called this protest to allow working people to send a clear message to these groups - no going back!"

The Unity of Purpose group in Derry, made up of traders, public bodies and politicians, has called on as many people as possible to support tomorrow's demo. Speaking on its behalf, city centre manager Jim Roddy said: "We met with the service providers whose workers were under threat and we find it shocking that such threats are still being issued to people within our city.

"We feel very strongly that all threats of violence should be withdrawn against everyone.

"We stand by our mantra: if you hurt one of us, you hurt us all.

"And that includes all those who are from the city, come to the city and all those who serve our city.

"We want to look forward to help grow our city, expand our university and create more opportunities for our young people.

"We would ask as many people as possible to come out and support the Nipsa rally on Friday."

The rally has the support of the Derry Trades Union Council and the ICTU. It will be held at the Peace Garden in Foyle Street at 1pm.

A similar event is being planned for Saturday at The Diamond, Enniskillen, and will begin at 3pm.

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