Residents vent their anger

Picture by Lorcan Doherty  / Press Eye.
Picture by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye.

Over 100 Brandywell homes were evacuated in the wake of Sunday night’s attempted mortar bomb attack by dissident republicans.

The ordeal for those involved began shortly after 8pm when PSNI officers stopped and detained a white van on the Lone Moor Road.

Searches of the Southern-registered van revealed four primed mortars inside and a section of the roof had been removed in order to allow the weapons to be fired.

Many local residents reported their anger at being forced from their homes as a result of the actions of would-be bombers.

Among those evacuated by police were a number of residents who live in sheltered and supported accommodation on the Foyle Road.

One Coshowen man with a medical condition, described his shock when he returned to his home only to learn there was a bomb alert nearby.

Kevin Cregan said: “I returned home via the walkway along the River Foyle. As I got to my front door two policemen appeared.... They then began shouting: ‘There is a bomb in that van get out quick.’”

Mr. Cregan, who has a catheter fitted as a result of bladder problems, said he had to explain to heavily armed police that he needed to fetch medical equipment from the house, but they told him in no uncertain terms that they were unable to allow him back.

“I was escorted out of my flats and told not to come back,” claimed the Brandywell resident.

“It was all a big shock. Then I had to stay at my sister’s last night (Sunday). In fact I spent hours in the cold waiting on her to return and my family had to search around for fresh equipment for me. I could have been hospitalised had they not got me what I needed.”

Despite being “not too happy” at how PSNI officers had allegedly handled his predicament, Mr. Cregan was clear as to who was responsible for the evacuation.

“Yes it was a bit of a rough night. It was madness really.

“As I am speaking to you I am still not allowed back into my own home due to the actions of these idiots. This is a joke.

“These people can’t keep doing this to the people of Derry. The war is over, there is no point in these type of actions.”

Asked what he would say to those responsible, Mr. Cregan said simply: “What do you think you can achieve? These actions serve only to hurt the community, their own community.”