Threats have to stop: Unity body

City Centre manager Jim Roddy

City Centre manager Jim Roddy

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Dissident republican death threats against Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have been branded an attack on the “future wellbeing” of Derry.

The condemnation has been issued by Unity of Purpose, a group made up of business, statutory, community and political leaders in Derry committed to promoting the North West region.

The group includes the President of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, Philip Gilliland; City Centre Manager Jim Roddy; Derry City Council Chief Executive Sharon O’Connor; PSNI Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin; all of the Foyle MLAs; East Derry MP Gregory Campbell and Foyle MP Mark Durkan.

The threat against Mr McGuinness came to light last week when he revealed he had been targeted because of his condemnation of the recent attempted mortar attack in Derry and remarks he made in support of the police.

Mr McGuinness criticised the “warped logic” of those who believed that threatening republicans could “somehow advance the cause of Irish reunification”.

Unity of Purpose came into existence after the Ulster Bank on the Culmore Road was bombed in 2010. It meets regularly to discuss developments affecting Derry and the surrounding area.

In its new statement, the group condemns the threats against Mr. McGuinness and “all threats that have been issued against the citizens of our city and region.”

Its statement adds: “These threats and the actions of those who wish to kill, maim or threaten anyone in our city must stop immediately.

“Any attack against any part of the city and region, or against any person or people in or of the area, is an attack against the interests of everyone and against the future wellbeing of this city and its people.”

At the end of last year, the Unity of Purpose group urged dissident factions to “put away your guns and bombs and bring to an end the misery caused by violence.”

Its message said 2013 had the “capacity to transform lives and reshape” Derry “as One City, One Community and One People.”