Belfast Telegraph

Stormont heads condemn letter bombs

A second letter bomb has been discovered at a postal sorting office in Northern Ireland less than 24 hours after a similar device was found, police have said.

Stormont's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness condemned those who sent the explosive packets.

The second device was found at a depot in Lisburn a day after a bomb was discovered in an envelope in a sorting office in Londonderry.

It is understood both were addressed to Maghaberry high security prison in Co Antrim.

The finger of blame will again be directed at dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.

In a joint statement, Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness said: "We utterly condemn the recent letter bombs discovered in postal sorting offices in Derry/Londonderry and Lisburn.

"The people behind these letter bombs are opposed to the democratic will of the people and want to drag us back to the past. They have no respect for the postal workers, the wider community or the future."

The security alert at the Linenhall Street facility in Lisburn came after a letter bomb was made safe at the delivery depot in Great James Street, Derry.

The bomb found yesterday afternoon was in a white A4 envelope with the address written in grey using a stencil.

Last month a series of letter bombs sent to Army recruiting offices in England were blamed on dissidents.

In October last year dissidents also sent a series of letter bombs to high-profile political and security figures in Northern Ireland.

One of the devices was addressed to the seat of the power-sharing executive at Stormont Castle in Belfast, addressed to Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers.

Another bomb was delivered to the offices of the Public Prosecution Service in Derry while two explosive packages - one addressed to Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief constable Matt Baggott and the other to one of his senior commanders - were intercepted at Royal Mail offices in Belfast and Lisburn.

The spate of letter bombs has marked the re-emergence of a terror tactic that was used by paramilitaries during the Troubles.

Royal Mail spokeswoman Barbara Roulston said the company was doing everything possible to facilitate the police investigation.

"The sending of explosive devices via the postal system is of great concern to Royal Mail," she said.

"We are doing everything we possibly can to protect our people as they go about their daily jobs serving communities across the United Kingdom.

"Royal Mail has rigorous procedures in place to deal with suspect devices and trained personnel who manage these situations. Our procedures are under constant scrutiny and review and our employees are regularly briefed on these types of issues."

Irish Congress of Trade Unions assistant general secretary Peter Bunting said the discovery of the pipe bombs was "deeply disturbing".

"There must be a clear political response to this crime from all parties and that should be that the peace process is the only way forward for all of Northern Ireland's people," he said.

"The whole community requires a clear and unequivocal commitment from all political parties to work for peace, progress and equality.

"The reckless nature of this cowardly move by shadowy groups must also be highlighted. The people placed at risk by letter bombs are ordinary workers - those working for Royal Mail and those working for the Prison Service who could have been seriously injured or worse by these sinister packages.

"Letter bombs do not discriminate, but the people who sent the packages do discriminate. They must cease immediately this pointless and harmful campaign."

Lawrence Huston, regional secretary with the Communication Workers Union, also condemned the incidents .

"Our dedicated postal members deliver the mail to all parts of NI and should so without the fear of intimidation or injury," he said

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph