13/10/2011

Bomb Aims To Destroy 'Cultural Derry'

No one was hurt last night when a bomb exploded outside the City of Culture offices in Londonderry.

However, PSNI Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin said the Derry city centre bombing could easily have killed someone and it is thought that a dissident republican group was to blame.

The bomb went off just before 11pm on Wednesday and while no one was injured, buildings were damaged.

Superintendent Martin said on BBC NI's Good Morning Ulster today that a warning was called to a community representative at about 9.45pm and that the police had just cleared the area, when the device exploded - as an Army bomb squad was still on its way to the scene.

He also said that had anyone in the immediate vicinity of the explosion would almost certainly have been killed in the blast, as he said this was likely to have been a crude device that had been constructed in clandestine circumstances.

With the 'Maiden City' due to be the UK's City of Culture in 2013, this makes it an ideal location for such a terrorist outrage, with the target being the City of Culture offices, the organisation responsible for organising Derry's year in the spotlight.

While damage to the building appeared at first to be relatively minor that is now being reassessed in the cold light of day.

Commenting on the explosion in Londonderry's Guildhall Square, the Ulster Unionist Leader Tom Elliott (pictured here) said: "It is shameful that we continue to have people who are determined to bring death and destruction to Northern Ireland.

"Surely its time that these paramilitaries realised they don't have support for their actions.

"While many are attempting to ensure that this province is a progressive society and working hard to develop sustainable communities, these terrorists want to destroy that good work.

"I say shame on them for their actions," said Mr Elliott.

Hitting out at the bombers, the DUP's Gregory Campbell said: "These people are merely trying to do what others have tried for 30 years before them, and failed.

"It doesn't matter how many times they try they will repeatedly fail as their predecessors in the Provisional IRA did before them.

"Those who thought they might be talked out of their activities have had a rude awakening. Information leading to prosecution and convictions followed by a long time in prison which they may choose not to recognise is the answer to these activities," he said.

Alliance Policing Board member Trevor Lunn MLA has also expressed his outrage after a bomb exploded in Derry's City of Culture offices on Shipquay Street.

"I am outraged at this bomb attack. I am disgusted and appalled at the actions of a small group of people who wish to see violence like this return to our streets.
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"This bomb could have injured or killed but those behind it do not care about the consequences of their actions.

"Derry being awarded the City of Culture is an opportunity to attract more tourists as well as investment. The people behind this bomb attack obviously do not want Derry or its economy to use this opportunity to move forward," he said, adding: "If anybody has any information about this bomb then they must contact the police. Those responsible for this attack must be brought to justice by the courts."

The SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has also condemned those responsible: "Derry is a city with many challenges and with many difficulties. But the City of Culture is one of the opportunities we have.

"It has been strongly supported across our city, not just for the positive ongoing work to make it a memorable and successful year for Derry, but for the legacy that it will create long after 2013 as a springboard for future investment here.

"This callous and dangerous act flies in the face of the efforts made by so many people to improve life here. Thankfully, no one has been injured but those graces are no thanks to those who are behind this attack.

"They are out to destroy and they don't care if they injure or kill when they are at it."

Executive Action

This afternoon, the Sinn Fein Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister, Carál Ní Chulín, has condemned the bomb attack on the City of Culture Offices in Derry.

"I wish to condemn this action against an organisation which is working hard to bring significant financial benefits to the North West.

"Derry made history after winning its bid to be the first ever City of Culture in 2013.

"The City of Culture staff are all in their Ebrington office today and they have not let this attack deter them from their work," said the Stormont Executive Minister.

"They are in the business of making 2013 a year-long celebration of culture in the City.

"They are working hard to secure economic benefits for all of its people - both in the North West and beyond.

"I would like to pay tribute to their commitment and support them in their valuable work. I know that the people of the city support their efforts.

"They represent a new chapter in Derry's history. The individuals who carried out this attack represent the past and there is no community support for this action.

"I would appeal to these individuals to stop this unwanted activity and get behind the people of Derry as they try to build a better future for the whole community," she concluded.

See: Derry Barracks Blasted Overnight

See: United Backing For Londonderry Culture Bid

(BMcC/CD)

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