‘City of violence’ tag a worry

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A local priest has slammed attempts by hoax bombers to turn Derry from City of Culture into ‘city of violence’.

Father Paddy O’Kane spoke out after the discovery of two hoax devices in his Ballymagroarty parish sparked disruption and attacks on police on Saturday evening.

Army technical officers carried out controlled explosions on two objects which were discovered at around 6pm. The area was cleared by around 10pm and no homes were evacuated.

However, police came under attack from bottles and stones during the alert. No-one was injured but a 23 year-old male was arrested at the scene for public order offences and is due to appear in court on July 2.

Fr O’Kane said that some residents were “blocked” from returning to their homes as result of the disruption. “There is anger but it is directed at those people who planted the devices. Local people are totally against such actions which bring disruption and unnecessary suffering to the community. It’s the community which is being terrorised by these people, it’s our own people who are being hurt.”

He said that people in the local community believe the incident was orchestrated to allow for an attack on police officers. “It’s worrying for many people that there is a wider agenda here - that this is a campaign to give Derry a bad image in light of the City of Culture year - they are asking are these incidents attempts to make Derry a city of violence?”

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley added: “Those responsible for the leaving of these devices on Saturday night have absolutely nothing to offer the people of the greater Ballymagroarty area. This was another senseless action and whoever was behind it needs to explain their rationale to this community.