Politicians condemn IRA for latest bomb blast


UNIONIST and British politicians united early today in condemning the latest London blast.

The Official Unionist security spokesman, Mr Ken Maginnis MP, said he had little hesitation in pinning the blame for the bomb on the IRA. "Until we face up to the reality of what the IRA really are, we are going to suffer this type of tragedy again and again.

"From much of the media reaction to the Canary Wharf blast, one would have thought that the unionists had brought the bomb across into Great Britain and John Major had personally planted it.

"In the meantime, Gerry Adams can get away unquestioned with contradictory statements which suggest at one moment he is holding out the hand of friendship and in the next he supports the bombers and people must do nothing to hinder them.

"His refusal to condemn these outrages has to be seen for what it is part of a terrorist campaign intended to enable less than 5 per cent of the electorate in Northern Ireland to dominate by violence the other 95 per cent."

The Ulster Unionist MP Mr John Taylor, told BBC Radio Five Live: "We are in the midst of a very serious IRA campaign on the mainland and everyone must now be on the alert and the government must take a much firmer line against terrorism.

"We in Northern Ireland send out our sympathy to all those bereaved and injured. We resent what is happening very much. If people are letting off bombs in buses, as the IRA has apparently done tonight, then the peace process is over in the meantime."

The DUP leader, the Rev Ian Paisley, told the BBC: "This is a funny way to put out the hand of friendship, by murdering people. You can't negotiate with people who are prepared to take up weapons and take lives."

The DUP's deputy leader, Mr Peter Robinson, called for the reintroduction of internment. He" said he had no doubt that the bomb was either planted by the IRA or was being transported by it.

"This is a dreadful action by the Provisional IRA," he said. "I think it's logical to assume that they would have been responsible. Whether they transported it or whether, in fact, they placed it, I think it shows how irresponsible those people are."

He said the blast came just a few hours after the Sinn Fein leader, Mr Adams, had said he, was extending the hand of friendship to unionists and to the British.

"I think that the time has come when the whole international community must be prepared to crush the Provisional IRA," he told Sky News. "That undoubtedly requires something in the nature of internment."

Renewing the peace process now would be "a great mistake", Mr Robinson added.

The chairman of the Tory backbench Northern Ireland committee, Mr Andrew Hunter, said if it was another IRA bomb then his "worst fears" would have been fulfilled.

"It is another horrific outrage. It is sickening and there is no justification. The IRA will win no con by this course of action."

The former Northern Ireland minister, Mr Peter Bottomley, said the IRA set off bombs for calculated publicity and public reaction. "We may have under estimated how badly they feared they would do in elections for people to participate in all party talks.

"Their fear is democracy. This is demonstrated by the fact that they achieved less than 3 per cent of the vote in the Republic of Ireland. In elections for the all party talks, they must have expected to receive less than their past share of the vote in Northern Ireland. That is the only rational explanation for the Sinn Fein/IRA return to violence."