Irish Republican News · October 8, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Real IRA claims Derry bomb

The ‘Real IRA’ has claimed responsibility for detonating a bomb with more than 200 pounds of explosives outside an Ulster Bank in a commercial district of Derry in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Two members of the PSNI on duty at the scene in Culmore Road were blown off their feet by the blast.

No others were hurt in the blast which severely damaged the bank offices and forced the evacuation of Da Vinci’s hotel.

Last August, another group known as Oglaigh na hEireann, exploded a device outside Strand Road PSNI station.

It remains unclear if the Real IRA attack marks the start of a campaign against commercial targets. Last month, the group said it would alternate its strikes between the “military, political and economic targets” and mentioned, in particular, British-owned banks.

Speaking from the annual Tory conference in Birmingham, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness said the ‘Real IRA’ were “conflict junkies” and “neanderthals”. SDLP MP Mark Durkan said those involved were “stuck in the tired old Provo-style ways” who demonstrated only a limited capacity for sporadic attacks.

The 26-County Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin said the bombing was “utterly wrong and entirely futile”. Meanwhile, the owner of the damaged hotel called for dialogue. Businessman Garvan O’Doherty said: “There needs to be dialogue. There is dialogue. There is dialogue going on to try and sort this issue out, to try and understand where they are coming from.”

He added: “A number of us are involved in various strands to try and ensure we get the message across to try and understand what they are on about, because they are on the wrong track. This work will continue.”

Sinn Fein’s condemnation of the attack led to accusations of ‘hypocrisy’ by both unionists and republican hardliners.

In the Assembly, Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson claiming some politicians were assisting the IRA groups by comparing their actions to the Provisional IRA’s campaign. Referring to unionist condemnation she said: “Republicans have only ever involved themselves in armed action when there was no other means to pursue their political objectives.”

However, the 1998 Good Friday Agreement had established a viable alternative to violence, she said.

PSNI Assistant Chief Judith Gillespie and Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, attending a cross-border conference this week, spoke of the growing capability of the IRA groups.

“We have seen an increase in technical expertise and the successful detonation of improvised explosive devices, the range of techniques they are now using, said Gillespie.

“And we have also seen groups working more closely together than we have seen in the past.”

Meanwhile, DUP MP Gregory Campbell’s claim that the nationalist and republican community “must know” who is behind the attacks and help in their arrest was criticised by Sinn Fein.

Derry Assembly member Raymond McCartney described the statement as an attempt to “criminalise and implicate” the entire nationalist community.

“Gregory assumes, and is not shy in painting a picture, that the nationalist community know all about the movement and operations of dissident groups.

“In doing so he utilises language that we saw in the 1980’s and 90’s that unionist politicians used as cover for loyalists to attack and kill members of the nationalist and republican communities.

“He needs to be measured in his approach and stop alienating this community. He needs to step back from blanket portrayals and stop criminalising the nationalist and republican community. Maybe he should come forward with what he knows about loyalist activities and unionist party links with such groupings.”

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