LVF says it tried to bomb club in Larne

 

The Loyalist Volunteer Force has admitted responsibility for an attempted bomb attack on a Catholic recreation club in Larne, Co Antrim, on St Patrick's night. British army bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion on the device, which was left outside St Comgall's Hall.

Around 200 people were evacuated after a doorman watching a video monitor spotted a person leaving the device, in a blue plastic bag, at 9.30 p.m. The RUC said it was "an improvised explosive device". In a statement admitting responsibility yesterday, the LVF said: "Next time, it will explode." The club is used by both sections of the community and a Protestant Irish dance troupe was about to perform at the time.

The treasurer of the club, Mr Charlie Massey, said: "The bomber is captured on video but we don't know whether the RUC will be able to identify him from the pictures." He added: "We always organise a good night on St Patrick's night and leaving a bomb outside was a horrible and despicable thing to do."

The Ulster Unionist Party MP for the area, Mr Roy Beggs, said the attack was designed to divide Protestants and Catholics in Larne. "It was an evil act aimed at causing fear, injury, and possibly even death. It will be rejected by the majority of right-thinking people in this town. Those who carried it out have only brought discredit on the good name of Larne."

An SDLP councillor, Mr Daniel O'Connor, who was at the celebrations said: "People were very distressed by what happened. All ages were there - youngsters and people in their 70s. They were all very upset."

Mr Sean Neeson of the Alliance Party said there had been several similar attacks in Larne recently and he feared the area "might well be slipping into the extremities of sectarianism experienced in the 1970s".

Meanwhile, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the INLA's political wing, has condemned a death threat sent to an INLA prisoner who is on a work-out scheme. Sean McLaughlin from west Belfast received a bullet in a sympathy card.

Mr Fra Halligan of the IRSP said: "Whilst the participants of the current flawed talks process swan around the USA surrounded by the green mist of gombeen paddyism, the reality of the nationalist working-class nightmare continues in the British-occupied six counties."