Kenny condemns Derry bombers
Police forensic experts examine a van which was found to be carrying four primed mortars on the outskirts of Derry today. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has strongly condemned the “potentially catastrophic” activities of dissidents after four live mortar bombs were discovered in a van in Derry close to the border with Donegal last night.
Mr Kenny has told the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly he “deplored” the group’s activities and commended the vigilance of the security forces after they foiled a “potentially disastrous” situation.
“It is clear that the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland and elsewhere across these islands want to see peace and prosperity flourish and reject the attempts of a tiny minority whose offering is only a return to the emptiness of terror, bloodshed and murder,” Mr Kenny said.
“We want no part of that,” he added.
He said sectarianism must be rejected, “and no number of votes for any political party or in any border poll can in itself, and on its own, resolve” difficult issues which required a broad societal and political response. Sinn Féin has proposed a "border poll".
Mr Kenny said the Belfast Agreement was not owned by any one political group or any one generation of politicians.
“It is the expressed will of the people of Northern Ireland and more widely across these islands, and it provides for the peaceful co-existence of people with different traditions, cultures and aspirations," he said. “It is the responsibility of those of us who have the privilege of holding political office to defend, to underpin, and to reinforce its principles, its values and its institutions.”
He called on party leaders to live up to their responsibilities and agree a framework to address the issues that have arisen in relation to flags in the North.
Anti-austerity protesters outside the Letterkenny Institute of Technology could be heard chanting as Mr Kenny delivered his speech to parliamentarians from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Some 70 protesters had gathered ahead of Mr Kenny’s arrival. They were objecting to water charges and property tax, among other things. They followed the car in which Mr Kenny arrived but were prevented from getting closer by a line of gardaí.