Belfast Telegraph

Those blaming dissident republican terrorism on Brexit making excuses for 'twisted individuals': Campbell

The DUP MP Gregory Campbell
The DUP MP Gregory Campbell

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has said those blaming recent dissident republican terrorism on Brexit and a lack of devolution in Northern Ireland are making excuses for "very twisted and warped individuals".

Concerns have been raised that uncertainty over Brexit is fueling dissident republican terrorism in Northern Ireland after police officers escaped injury when an explosive device detonated in Co Fermanagh near the border.

However, Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said those blaming Brexit and a lack of devolution for recent terrorist acts are in danger of making excuses for dissident republican violence.

"The bombers are motivated by targeting people who they see as representing Her Majesty’s Government. As PSNI Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Stephen Martin said, they wake up in the morning with murder on their mind. 

"Police statistics show that the number of bombing incidents have decreased not increased since the EU referendum / demise of devolution."

PSNI officers close to the scene of the bomb attack at Wattle Bridge in Co Fermanagh

Mr Campbell pointed to statistics that show there was 46 bombing incidents in 2008/09, which dropped to 18 in 2017/18.  The highest number of incidents during this period occurred in 2013/14, with 69 incidents.

"Those who blame Brexit or Stormont are in danger of misleading the next generation," Mr Campbell added. 

"There is no excuse for bombings and there never was. Soldiers, prison officers, police officers and border force officers were never legitimate targets.”

ACC Martin, speaking after officers avoided injury in the Fermanagh bomb attack, urged political leaders to "work collectively together" but said there was no evidence the bombing was linked to Brexit.

DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew visit the scene

"The threat from Northern Ireland-related terrorism has not decreased and has remained at severe since 2009," he said.

"We have people in our society who wake up every day and their motivation is to try and kill police, sometimes prison officers or Army personnel.

"Thankfully most of their attacks don't succeed, but small groups can cause significant effect or pose real danger.

"We shouldn't take our peace for granted and need to work continuously to move forward and not allow ourselves to regress."

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