Campbell calls on Donnelly to condemn Everglades bombing

Mr. Gus Hastings, Everglades Hotel, talks to a police officer at the scene of an overnight bomb attack at the Waterside Hotel. DER2214MC083
Mr. Gus Hastings, Everglades Hotel, talks to a police officer at the scene of an overnight bomb attack at the Waterside Hotel. DER2214MC083

Gregory Campbell has called on Gary Donnelly to join in the universal condemnation of the bomb attack on the Everglades Hotel in Londonderry.

The East Londonderry MP said last night’s attack had been condemned across the whole community.

“I am waiting to see if newly elected councillor Gary Donnelly will join in with the universal condemnation,” he said.

“What these people need to learn is that this type of activity has not worked in the past and will not work in the future.”

the attack happened at around 11.15pm last night when a masked man threw a what police described as a “firebomb” into the reception area of the Everglades Hotel.

The device exploded a short time later when Army bomb experts were working to make it safe.

No-one was injured in the explosion but the reception was extensively damaged.

Mr Donnelly, a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee - was elected to the new Londonderry and Strabane super council at last week’s local

The attack was also condemned by Londonderry deputy mayor Gary Middleton who was at the scene last night.

The DUP man praised the actions of the hotel staff who managed to evacuate all guests in under ten minute after a masked man threw an explosive device into the reception area.

“There were so many lives put at risk last night. This is completely unacceptable,” he said.

“We must commend the work of the staff at the hotel and the swift work of the PSNI.

“There were families with young children who had to be woken up and elderly people who had to leave the hotel without their medication.

“The clear message is that no-one wants this type of activity and it this is being condemned by everyone.

“People are coming to this city on Sunday for the Walled City Marathon and we do not want people to be afraid.”

Staff at the Everglades managed to evacuate the entire hotel in around ten minutes around 11.15pm last night. Guests were transferred to the City Hotel in the city centre.

The device exploded a short time later when army experts were working to make it safe. No-one was injured in the explosion but the reception area of the hotel was extensively damaged.

A PSNI spokesperson praised the action of the hotel staff and police officers in quickly evacuating the hotel, and said they had “undoubtedly prevented a tragedy”.

Mayor Martin Reilly also condemned the actions of those responsible.

“On a night when our city was winning awards for the performance in the tourism sector we are reminded that there is a small minority who are intent in putting lives in danger and holding our city back,” he said.

“I know who the real heroes of the city are - it’s those who are intent on positively promoting Derry to the wider world, not those who seek to bomb and destroy.”

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan said the bomb was an attack against the whole city.

He said: “So many people are working hard to move the city forward, but those behind this device are trying to drag us all back to worse times. Such methods demonstrate only a negative, violent capacity, not a viable strategy or credible rationale.

“The nature of the device, and the manner of this reckless attack, show that they are a threat to anyone and everyone. That is why we must be united and strong in rejecting their ways, and affirming peace and progress as our chosen determined collective right.”

Sinn Fein councillor Paul Fleming said: “This must have been a very frightening experience for staff, guests and local residents caught up in this incident.

“It serves no purpose and those responsible need to come forward and explain to the people of Derry what the point of all this is.

“I would call upon anyone involved in this type of activity to desist; they have no strategy and are going against the will of the vast majority of the people of this city who have indicated that they want to move forward without these type of actions.”

Sir William Hastings, Chairman of Hastings Hotels said: “It is extremely sad that the professional staff and management of the Everglades Hotel have had to deal with such a traumatic experience.

“I would like to praise the General Manager, Neil Devlin, recently named Hotel Manager of the Year for Northern Ireland, and his excellent team for acting so quickly and professionally to avert a major atrocity. This has caused real damage to the prosperity of the city from both a commercial and tourism point of view.

“The main loser here is the city of Derry~Londonderry, a city which does not deserve this after the excellent work in attracting more and more visitors in recent years. This despicable action has the potential to damage the tourism industry in Derry~Londonderry but with my experience of the people in the city and their resolve I am confident this will not deflect them from their efforts to help continue to take the city forward.

“The damage has been contained to the reception area and staff are already hard at work to ensure the hotel is back open for business tomorrow morning to provide the people of and visitors to the city with a warm welcome and a first-class service.”