Suspected dissident bomb may have targeted Lisnaskea PSNI station
Bomb defused close to where G8 summit will be held in summer
Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers: “acts like this only serve to strengthen our resolve against terrorists”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
A bomb found and defused by a British army bomb disposal squad in Co Fermanagh at the weekend was likely to have been destined for the heavily fortified PSNI station at Lisnaskea in the county, according to a senior police officer.
The 60kg device, packed into a beer keg, was discovered in an abandoned car on the Derrylin Road near Enniskillen in the early hours of Friday morning. Dissident republicans are believed responsible. Homes in the area were evacuated while British army technical experts dealt with the bomb through Friday and into yesterday morning.
While Lisnaskea is about 16 miles from where the G8 summit of world leaders will be held in June, security and intelligence insiders don’t believe dissident republicans would target the summit. However, they believe that, as well as trying to kill police officers, dissident republicans would have sought to garner international headlines and propaganda from an attack so close to the G8 venue.
PSNI district commander Pauline Shields said those responsible had no regards for the lives of anyone in the community. “It is fortunate that no one was killed or seriously injured as a result of this reckless act,” she said.
“The people who carried out this act are not part of the society within which the majority of people of Northern Ireland wish to live,” she added.
“Although investigations are at an early stage, it is our assessment at present that this vehicle was destined for Lisnaskea PSNI station,” said Ms Shields.
Local Assembly member and Minister for Enterprise Arlene Foster said those behind the bomb were clearly intent on taking life and causing mass destruction. “It would seem that these evil terrorists had to abandon the transport of this bomb. The police are to be congratulated on the level of security around the county,” she said.
“When we look at the number of failed terrorist attempts across the province, it is clear that the police are being successful both at gathering intelligence and also at putting that knowledge to use. It is important that our security services now bring people before our courts and ultimately secure prosecutions,” added Ms Foster.
Local Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan said the “faceless” people responsible needed to realise that their actions were futile. “They do not enjoy any support in this community and in fact no one knows what they are trying to achieve because they have yet to explain how their actions would deliver Irish unity,” he said.
“They should desist from such activities that recklessly and needlessly put lives in danger and join with the rest of us in trying to build a better Ireland for all of our people,” added Mr Flanagan.
Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers said “acts like this only serve to strengthen our resolve against those terrorists who have nothing to offer Northern Ireland except mayhem and destruction”.