Race to kill PSNI member - Orde
Race to kill PSNI member - Orde

The chief of the PSNI police, Hugh Orde, has claimed that republican militants are engaged in a deadly competition to see who can be the first to kill a member of the PSNI.

“I think what we are seeing is that dissidents are getting and are prepared, to take more risk,” Orde said in a television interview this week.

“They are determined to kill a police officer. That is the Continuity IRA, Real IRA and indeed INLA and there seems to be some almost bizarre competition to raise the level of attack to achieve the awful objective of killing a police officer just because there is someone out there protecting the communities.”

Orde said a roadside bomb found near Jonesborough in south Armagh two weekends ago, and linked to the breakaway ‘Real IRA’, was such a bid. The device was allegedly found by prominent loyalist and anti-republican lobbyist Willie Frazer, who said children had been playing nearby as he uncovered the bomb.

“They are just determined to cause mayhem, to actually bring Northern Ireland back to a place it is simply not going to go,” said Orde.

“So their plan is completely flawed at every level but I do think they see the political impasse at Stormont as an increased opportunity to recruit.”

In an unusual statement, the Real IRA issued a statement last week to deny any involvement in the Jonesborough device, which it described as “an exercise in black propaganda”. The incident led to strong condemnation from Sinn Féin and other nationalist politicians.

“Oglaigh na hEireann do not leave bombs in full view of the public, for local children to play with nor for the likes of Willie Frazer to stumble upon,” the statement read.

“We would also ask certain ‘community representatives’ to look at their own history with regards to such actions before lecturing others.

“Oglaigh na hEireann will not be deflected by such obvious diversionary tactics and we will remain focussed on the task at hand.”

But Hugh Orde said such incidents showed that the “dissidents” were becoming increasingly desperate.

“They are getting more reckless and I think that is very clear.

“They are prepared to use any means possible to kill a police officer.

Orde has been hotly tipped as a possible successor to head the London police force, following the resignation of its former chief, Ian Blair. The scandal-plagued ‘Met’ chief quit over a dispute with the new London Mayor, Boris Johnson.

Orde denied has was hoping to move to the post at the end of a Policing Board meeting in Belfast.

“My concern currently is to protect the community of Northern Ireland and to deal with the dissident republican threat and that is where 100% of my energy currently is,” Orde said.

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