N. Ireland bomb marks devolution

By politics.co.uk staff

A bomb has gone off in Holyrood, County Down, in an attack thought to correspond to the devolution of policing and justice powers.

The car bomb went off around 00:20 BST outside Palace Barracks, where MI5 has its Northern Irish headquarters.

One elderly man suffered minor injuries. The Real IRA has claimed responsibility.

The attack failed to prevent any of today’s important constitutional moves, and Alliance leader David Ford was earier named Northern Ireland’s new justice minister.

Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward said the terrorists have “no support”.

The “democratic transition stands in stark contrast to the activity of a criminal few who will not accept the will of the majority of people of Northern Ireland”, he added.

A taxi was hijacked in the evening about seven miles from Holyrood, in the Ligoniel area of north Belfast, according to reports.

The driver was held hostage for several hours before being ordered to travel to the barracks.

A warning was given by the attackers and security staff began evacuating the area just before midnight. The bomb went off two hours later.