PSNI thwarting of murder bids is welcomed

Maurice Devenney.
Maurice Devenney.

Independent Unionist Alderman, Maurice Devenney, says he welcomed the announcement that the police had thwarted several recent dissident republican murder bids.

Mr Devenney said he had been listening to the Assistant Chief Constable, Will Kerr, who had again issued a warning about the severe threat dissident republicans posed.

“Will Kerr has said dissident republican groups have several hundred active members and he has expressed concerns about their increasing capabilities,” he said.

“I have to commend the PSNI on their ongoing efforts to combat terrorism no matter where it comes from. In recent months there has been an amalgamation of republican groups opposed to Sinn Fein’s strategy and feel very discontent that SF have been unable to deliver on their promise of a United Ireland.

“It is worrying that dissident republicans are targeting members of the PSNI, prison officers and British soldiers who, on a daily basis, carry out their role protecting the citizens of Northern Ireland against murder and mayhem.

“I have read that this threat could now extend to civilian prison staff employed by G4S and I have only one message for these thugs, that their aims will fail just like their predecessors SF/IRA have. As far as I am concerned, the Union is more secure than ever and I am confident that the majority of citizens in Northern Ireland would agree that these people have nothing to offer to society in 2016.”

On Friday the PSNI announced that they had prevented several attempted murders by dissident republicans since the recent bomb attack on a prison officer and they warned that they expect dissidents to attempt to carry out more attacks during the next few weeks.

On Friday last a prison officer was injured after a bomb was planted under a van.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said police were deeply concerned by the numbers involved in dissident organisations and their increasing capabilities and they were now preventing or disrupting three or four planned or attempted attacks for every one that takes place.

He said there were several hundred active dissident republicans, led by a small group of people with significant terrorist experience and that those individuals were previously members of PIRA.

ACC Kerr reiterated that police were expecting dissidents to attempt to escalate their activities in the run-up to the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

“We have seen an upsurge in dissident republican activity over the last number of weeks and we anticipate that that upsurge might continue,” he said.