New IRA claims responsibility for bomb under PSNI officer’s car

Smooth roads vehicle travelled over may have prevented device from exploding

The New IRA has said it was responsible for the attempt to kill a PSNI officer in an under-car bomb attack in east Belfast last weekend.

The organisation in a statement to the Irish News in Belfast said it planted the bomb under the car of the police officer.

“The IRA claims responsibility for the recent under car booby trap,” it said in a statement using a recognised code-word and signed T O’Neill.

The device was discovered and defused at the Shandon Park golf club in east Belfast on Saturday afternoon where the off-duty officer had gone to play a round of golf.


In its statement, the paramilitary organisation suggested the bomb contained a mercury tilt switch which normally is activated by the motion of a car. It suggested because the officer’s car travelled over a relatively smooth road surface, there was not sufficient jolting or bumping of the vehicle to trigger the device.

“We are confident the device would have exploded if it was not for the level terrain it had travelled on,” said the New IRA. “We were unlucky this time but we only have to be lucky once.”

The Irish News reported that it understood that the bomb contained high powered plastic explosives.

The PSNI had said it was “extraordinarily fortunate” that the officer or members of his family or the public were not killed in the failed attack.

The New IRA regularly uses under-car bombs. In recent years such devices have claimed the lives of PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh, Co Tyrone and prison officer Adrian Ismay in Belfast.

This was the first such incident by the New IRA, which styles itself the “IRA”, since it murdered journalist and writer Lyra McKee in Derry in April.

Two cars linked to the attempted attack were found on fire in Ardoyne in north Belfast early last Saturday morning.

The PSNI asked for the cooperation of the Garda as one of the vehicles had a Dublin registration.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times