Police Murder Bid Sparks Political Outrage

An explosion in County Fermanagh designed to murder security force personnel has been met with widespread outrage from Northern Ireland's political representatives.

Local parties have united in their condemnation of the bomb, along with the Secretary of State and Irish Prime Minister.

The bomb detonated at around 10.35am this morning, Monday 19 August, on the main A3 Cavan Road in Newtownbutler.

Police said officers dealing with an earlier suspect device at Wattle Bridge, which was later confirmed as a hoax, had been lured to the area in a murder attempt. Officers and Army disposal officers are understood to have been at the scene when the device detonated.

Politicians from across the community divide have hit out at those responsible.

Alliance MLA and Policing Board member John Blair said he is thankful we are not dealing with serious tragedy today, and urged those behind attempts to murder police to cease.

"That is nothing other than an outrageous attack that must be condemned in the strongest possible terms," he said.

"People want to get on with their lives and leave these dark echoes of the past behind. Those behind this bomb have nothing positive to offer the community and need to leave the stage entirely."

SDLP Councillor for the area Adam Gannon said the crime has no support in the community of Fermanagh.

"No one here wants to see members of our community killed in their name," he commented. "Those responsible are criminals threatening our community and they have to be caught."

Meanwhile, NI Secretary Julian Smith MP commended the police officers involved for their bravery and said he is following developments. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also added to the condemnation of the "cowardly actions" of those responsible.
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"There is never any justification to use violence to achieve political aims," he said of the attack, which occurred close to the border with the Republic of Ireland. "The people of Ireland, North and South, had their say on this issue when they voted overwhelmingly and emphatically for the Good Friday Agreement. It is a considerable relief that no PSNI officers were seriously injured or killed when this bomb went off."

Ulster Unionist MLA for Fermanagh and south Tyrone said the act harks back to The Troubles and urged anyone with information to contact police immediately.

"For many years the people of this area were subject to a terrorist campaign of murder and intimidation resulting in people being forced to move from their homes. Now once again the law abiding people of this area are being targeted. This has happened several times within the past year. Sadly terrorists are still at work in our society.

"There is an onus on everyone in the Fermanagh community to help the PSNI catch the criminals responsible for this heinous crime.

"If anyone has any information in relation to this incident, please pass it on to the PSNI."

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the bombers have placed the entire community at risk as well as the serving officers.

The MLA for Fermanagh and south Tyrone said: "On a very basic level, we campaign for more police on the ground to tackle rural crime and yet here are republican bombers attempting to lure police officers to their death as they go about their job of keeping people safe.

"The police officers were serving everyone while the terrorists are seeking to breed fear and division. We must stand united with the PSNI and our Army Technical Officers."

Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew, another local MLA, said the bomb attack was "totally wrong".

"Thankfully no one was injured in this incident but we could have been dealing with a situation where people were seriously injured or worse. 

"Those responsible for this incident have nothing to offer society and need to end these actions immediately."


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