Protestant worker calls on dissidents to lift death threat in Derry
A Protestant community worker in Londonderry who was warned by police that dissident republicans were planning an attack on him says he wants the threat lifted so he can return to the job he loves.
The 64-year-old, who did not wish to be named, told the Belfast Telegraph he is staying at his Waterside home until the threat is withdrawn.
The man, who works in the allotments and in park maintenance for the Bogside and Brandywell Initiative, said his family were greatly worried about what is happening.
A written warning passed to him from police reads: “Dissident republicans are aware that a male called ‘.......’ from the Waterside is working at the allotments in ‘.......’ and it is believed that an attack on this male may be imminent.”
He said he was not frightened himself, and despite the concerns of his family, he was eager to “get back to work asap”.
“I got a threat, it was a warning,” he said. “I don’t know where it originated from.
“My boss told me about it. It was passed from various people. It hasn’t frightened me.
“I don’t know who threatened me, but I think if it was dissident republicans they would have known more information about me than what was on the statement that I got from the police.
“I think they would be better organised. It just said I was from the Waterside, not my address. They don’t know where I live.”
He went on: “I wasn’t worried when I got the warning, to be honest, I thought it was a joke.
“People threaten people, it’s just one of those things. It’s how life is. But my family are very worried.
“I don’t think that it’s a real, genuine threat, I think it was issued just to get me out of Creggan. Once they got me out of Creggan the threat is over. I won’t go back unless the threat is lifted.
“I was told not to go back to work until my boss contacts me to tell me it’s safe to do so. I got on all right with everyone over there.
“Everyone is genuine. But it only takes one individual. That’s the way life is. The police have said to keep vigilant and if anything strange happens to report it to them.
“I’m just going to wait it out until I get the all clear from my boss.
“Councillor (Colly) Kelly and councillor Campbell are working away in the background to see if they can find out who issued the threat and get it withdrawn. I’ll be back. I love it over there. It’s nice and the people are nice.”
The family man said he felt the threat was issued because some people wanted jobs to go to “their own people”.
“It’s hard enough to get work, I want to hold on to the job I have,” he added.
“It has always been hard to get a job in this town. I think that is what the problem is here. They think that by threatening people from the Waterside out, they will get the jobs. They would want someone from the area to get the job. That has always been the way.”
Tommy McCourt from the Time 2 Choose project, a Derry scheme that mediates between dissident republicans and people under threat, said his sources had told him that the warning, said to originate from the Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) grouping, was not officially sanctioned by that organisation’s leadership.
The PSNI said: “We do not discuss the security of individuals. However, if we receive information that a person’s life may be at risk we will inform them accordingly.
“We never ignore anything which may put an individual at risk. No inference should be drawn from this.”