Newry and Armagh: Candidates unite to condemn car bombers

By Niall McDonald

Candidates from the Newry and Armagh constituency have united to roundly condemn those who placed a car bomb suspicious device outside Newtownhamilton police station early this morning.

Dozens of families were evacuated from the Newry Street area of the town and were housed in a local school as army technical experts examined the suspicious vehicle.

Continuity IRA are reported to have admitted responsibility for leaving the car bomb.

The police station is only a few miles from the border with the Irish Republic.

Conor Murphy, inceumbent Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh said: “I would call on those who support these groups to come forward and explain to us how this act will in any way advance republican objectives.

“The reality is that there now exists a peaceful way to achieve Irish unity, Republicans, along with the vast majority of the people of Ireland are committed to pursuing that objective peacefully.

“This latest alert has done nothing to further republicanism, it has simply disrupted the community in Newtonhamilton.”

Dominic Bradley, SDLP MLA candidate roundly condemned the attack on his Facebook page.

He wrote: “Newtownhamilton has suffered in the past from Provisional IRA car bombs – it was wrong then and it is wrong now.
“I would say to those responsible for this incident – stop now before more people are killed or injured.”

William Irwin, standing for the Democratic Unionist Party in the constituency commented: “The people who left the device are badly mistaken if they think their reckless actions will derail Northern Ireland from the progress that has been made.”

Andrew Muir, standing for the Alliance Party said: “The public do not want this small minority to drag us back to the dark days when there were threats on a daily basis across the country. They have next to no support and I hope the community unites to call on them to stop.”

The attack comes a day after a bomb exploded outside Palace Barracks in Holywood, County Down and is the second attack since Alliance leader David Ford taking over the justice minister’s office yesterday.

The issue of dissident republican activity is a major issue for voters in the upcoming election in Northern Ireland, none more so than in the Newry and Armagh constituency which has seen an upsurge in activity.

In February a mortar bomb was left at Keady police station and just four days after that a car bomb exploded outside Newry courthouse. Both incidences are within a 15 miles radius of this morning’s alleged attack.