‘New IRA’: Anti-British Group Suspected for Bomb Found Under Police Officer’s Car

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 08: Nationalists attack Police on Springfield Road just up from Peace Wall interface gates which divide the nationalist and loyalist communities on April 8, 2021 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Trouble has flared for a second night running in the Springfield Road area of Belfast. US …
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

So-called dissident republicans have been blamed after a firebomb was discovered under a female police officer’s car in Dungiven, Ulster.

An explosive device, described as a container of flammable liquid designed to create a fireball engulfing the vehicle and its occupants was found strapped to the personal vehicle of a female Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer. The BBC reported the remarks of Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan who said: “What is really distressing here is the terrorists placed the bomb at the rear of the car directly at the point where the victim’s three-year-old daughter sits.”

The plot was foiled and the bomb was disabled by the Army bomb squad before it had a chance of doing any harm, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

In a statement, First Minister Arlene Foster said: “I have spoken to the police officer who was targeted by terrorists last night in County Londonderry. I wanted to convey our support and utter condemnation of those who sought to harm her & her family. Reckless and futile. We salute her bravery and long service to our community.

“There will be political disagreements, but Northern Ireland must keep moving forward. We will not be dragged back to bombs & bullets.”

The leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Colum Eastwood MP, also joined in on the condemnation, saying: “Today’s attack on a serving member of the PSNI is an appalling attempt to murder a young woman who stood up and chose to serve her community. The cowards behind it could not be further removed from the bravery and compassion of officers who put themselves in harm’s way every day to keep our communities safe.

“Violence in pursuit of political goals has never been endorsed by the people of this island. Those who are waging a campaign of violence against members of our community need to understand, and we need to make them understand, that they are not in a fight with the PSNI or with Britain, they have chosen a fight with the people of Ireland who overwhelmingly endorsed peace. It is a fight that they will never win.”

During what has been come to be known as The Troubles, the IRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army) waged a decades-long campaign of violence, targeting British politicians, soldiers, police officers, as well as civilians.

The terrorist campaign waged by the IRA, which included the use of bombs, was an effort to pry away Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom in a failed attempt to create a unified Irish state, despite a clear majority voting in the 1973 referendum in the province to remain part of the UK.

This attempted attack has been blamed on the New IRA, McEwan said. The New IRA are one of the dozens of so-called dissident republican groups, perhaps more properly described as anti-ceasefire or anti-Agreement groups, who are opposed to the 1998 Good Friday agreement.

The Agreement was ratified by referendums in both British Ulster and Southern Ireland, but despite overwhelming public support for peace, the militant groups still fight to claim British territory for the Irish Republic.

There has been a recent uptick in tension in Ulster with sometimes violent protests following the fallout of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, which has seen the province placed under the control of the EU Single Market, resulting in some internal border controls being left in place between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Despite shortages as a result of the Chinese coronavirus crisis, the European Union has refused to extend the “grace period” in which border controls would not be fully imposed.

In response, the British government has announced that it would do so unilaterally, prompting the EU to launch legal action against the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in comments reported on Tuesday: “If we can’t make enough progress and if it looks as though the EU is going to be very, very dogmatic about it and we continue to have absurd situations so you can’t bring in rose bushes with British soil into Northern Ireland, you can’t bring British sausages into Northern Ireland, then frankly I’m going to, we’ll have to take further steps.

“What we’re doing is removing what I think of as the unnecessary protuberances and barriers that have grown up and we’re getting the barnacles off the thing and sandpapering it into shape.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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