The Real IRA have claimed responsibility for yesterday's gun attack on the home of a former Deputy Mayor of Derry whose son is a serving PSNI officer.
The home of former Derry City Irish Independence Party Councillor Liam Bradley was targeted shortly before 1 am. A shotgun blast was discharged through the front door of the house on Lone Moor Road while attempts were also made to set the family’s car alight. Mr. Bradley was in the house with his wife Marie at the time but they escaped injury.
In call to the ‘Journal’ using a recognised code word last night, a spokesperson for Oglaigh Na hEireann read the following statement, which warned of possible further attacks:
“Oglaigh Na hEireann claims responsibility for the attack on the family home of a serving RUC man. This attack was in direct response to ongoing attacks on the families of republicans. If the Crown Forces continue with this course of action they must realise that they and their families that support them will have a price to pay.”
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, Mr Bradley said he and his family were “too upset” to talk about the incident.
“The family is very shocked and I must worry about them at the minute. We’re all very upset,” he said.
Mr Bradley has been threatened in the past because his son is a member of the PSNI. Derogatory graffiti referring to the PSNI has also appeared on walls near the Bradley family home in recent times.
Mr and Mrs Bradley suffered the tragic death of another son in an accident two years ago. Liam junior died in January 2005 after a tragic fall.
Condemnation of the shooting was last night led by the Bishop of Derry, Most Reverend Seamus Hegarty, who said his prayers were with the Bradley family.
“This attack must be condemned by all right-thinking people. The Bradley family are no strangers to intimidation but this is a very sinister and frightening development. The family have shown great courage in the past and can be assured of the overwhelming support of all in the community.
“This attack is not only an attack on the Bradley family but also an attack on democracy and the newly formed assembly.”
SDLP Leader Mark Durkan said he utterly condemned the attack, adding that those behind it have absolutely no support from the people of Derry.
“This was a despicable attack on a solid, strong and well-respected family and it is rejected by the entire community here in Derry. We had all hoped that the dark days of attacks on people’s homes had been consigned to history. It is important not only that the family knows that the whole community stands behind them, but that those responsible for this attack know that they do not have support from the community.”
The Foyle MP added that the people of Derry wanted to move on and prosper, adding that those responsible had nothing to offer society. He said: “They prove nothing by using this violence other than the fact that they do not have strong arguments to persuade anyone. Anyone with information on who was responsible for this act should immediately contact the PSNI so that they can be brought to justice.”
Sinn Fein condemnation
Sinn Fein Assemblywoman Martina Anderson said: “Whatever the motivation of those responsible for this attack on the home of Liam Bradley it will not wash with the people of Derry. It was wrong and I condemn it.”
She challenged those behind the attack on their hopes for the future.
“To those who carried out this cowardly act I ask, what agenda or political aspiration do you believe is advanced by such actions? The fact that there was no one at home at the time of the attack was purely a case of luck. We could have been dealing with a situation of serious injury or worse. I call on those responsible to refrain from such actions in the future.”
Speaking on behalf of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement - the political wing of the Real IRA - in Derry, Michael Gallagher said that he was “not surprised” at the action taken by the paramilitary group.
“There has been a recent upsurge in RUC harassment of the families of republicans and attempts to frame republicans on trumped up charges. RUC have upped the ante against republicans and their families and stole collection boxes for prisoners’ welfare - we’re not surprised by this response.”
The PSNI has appealed for witnesses to come forward and for any information on the attack.