Belfast Telegraph

Government condemns attacks on PSNI

The Government has called for public support for police officers in Northern Ireland who are being targeted by dissident republican groups.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin hit out at what he said were the efforts of dissident groups to undermine the progress in securing cross-community support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

After dissidents detonated a car bomb at a police station in Derry and launched three failed booby trap attacks within a week, he appealed for calm ahead of a major loyal order parade in the city this weekend.

Mr Martin also attacked what he described as the "disgusting and sectarian" efforts to target Catholic police officers.

"I have been extremely concerned at the violence which has taken place over recent weeks in Northern Ireland, directed at PSNI officers and against the very communities which those responsible somehow claim to represent," he said.

"Ahead of Saturday's scheduled parade through the city by the Apprentice Boys of Derry, and the feeder parade in the Ardoyne, I would appeal to all sides of the community to ensure that all events take place in a calm and peaceful atmosphere.

"I call on all community leaders, and more importantly parents, to make sure your children and teenagers are kept out of trouble and harm's way."

Mr Martin said: "Undoubtedly, the current security environment is serious. I am particularly conscious of the difficult situation faced by PSNI officers and their families. Threats and dangers against them have become acute over recent weeks.

"On behalf of the Irish government, let me once again be crystal clear: there be can no justification whatsoever for threats of any description against any PSNI officer. The targeting of any officer on grounds of their religion is a disgusting and sectarian attack against them and against genuine republican values.

"We have fought long and hard and successfully to transform policing through the implementation of the Patten Report. The large increase in the number of Catholic police officers has been one of the key achievements of this transformation."

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