The man leading the Derry Diocese until the appointment of a new Bishop says “sinister” elements in the community must be “firmly confronted”.
Very Reverend Francis Bradley, the Diocesan Administrator, spoke out after a security alert brought parts of Derry’s city centre to a standstill on Saturday last. Shipquay Street and Shipquay Place were closed following a telephoned bomb warning and police carried out searches and evacuated a number of premises.However, nothing was found and the area was later reopened.
Rev. Bradley said the alert resulted in a “heightened sense of anxiety amongst shoppers, residents and retailers in the city centre.” He said it was reminder of “how far we have come as a society for they have been condemned by everyone.
“They remind us, too, of our need to work hard to safeguard the peace we have enjoyed.”
He added: “It is noteworthy that these events took place on the darkest day of the year, reminding us of even darker days that are past. Those who wish to menace us by sinister threat and idle manipulation have no part in our present, let alone our future.
“Regrettably, it is nothing new to find the threat of violence at this time of year. The Christ-child himself was born under such a threat; he gently but firmly confronted those who wished to hold people ransom in his day.”
The alert was condemned by local politicians. Pat Ramsey, of the SDLP, said trade on one of the busiest shopping days of the year had been disrupted while Sinn Fein’s Raymond McCartney branded those responsible as “visionless”.