The discovery in Strabane on Friday of a military grade assault rifle and ammunition, with possible links to the ‘New IRA’ has shocked and horrified Alderman Maurice Devenney.
Alderman Devenney said it was “vital in this election year that we do all in our power to prevent those who wish to disrupt and destroy the democratic wishes of the law-abiding majority”.
“It shocked me when I learned of this weapon’s discovery and the fact that if fired the ammunition would be able to penetrate a brick wall.
“I am horrified to think that there are still those in the community who think this kind of behaviour is acceptable. It is good that this weapon has been taken off the street and out of the hands of those who have no regard for human life or respect for law and order,” he said.
I agree with the comments of PSNI Superintendent Mark McEwan, who said the rifle would have been used to kill police officers.
“I understand that the weapon was found at Lismourne Place, which is in an industrial area at the heart of a densely populated part of the town where there are lots of young families and schools nearby.
“I want to endorse the comments of Superintendent McEwan, who said the weapon could have had a devastating impact if it had not been recovered by the police while investigating dissident activity.
“I appeal to anyone with information on terrorist activity to speak to the police or contact Crimestoppers and report what they know.”
The police said the discovery was part of an operation investigating dissident republican activity by the New IRA.
Superintendent Mark McEwan said that the weapon could have had a devastating impact.
“We believe this item was brought into the Strabane area in an attempt to carry out an attack on police,” he said.
“This would have been an attempt to kill police officers. The calibre of this weapon is such that the ammunition that was recovered along with it is capable of penetrating brick walls. Any sort of attack that is carried out using a weapon of this style is in complete disregard for the safety of the community.”