Derry spared “awful catastrophe”

Foyle MP Mark Durkan.
Foyle MP Mark Durkan.

Derry’s MP says the city has been saved from an “awful catastrophe” following the discovery of four live mortars in the city.

Mark Durkan was speaking this morning after the mortars were discovered in a van on the Letterkenny Road last night.

Mr Durkan said:” “I have mixed feelings about this attack – relief that these devices have been intercepted but disgust that anybody could plan an operation of this nature with the devastation and potential death that it would involve.

“Whilst people in Derry are justifiably annoyed and frustrated with the ongoing disruption from this, it is better that we are facing disruption today rather than the story of devastation and death that we could all have been talking about.

“These mortars bombs are not precision devices – and God only knows where any one of those four devices could have gone or the damage it could have done.

“We have all been spared an awful catastrophe – not only in physical terms to buildings or our infrastructure but also in human terms.

“If we contrast those who were planning this attack with what the thousands of people from this city and beyond were doing on Saturday… I was there in Ebrington Square (with my daughter Dearbháil) and we were all doing our song and dance routine for the Annie World Record attempt.

“We were all putting out a positive story, a positive message about our community and the talents and ambitions that we want to celebrate in this city. But no, there is a small minority of people who say they want Derry to be a theatre for destruction and death.

“They will not succeed. They have no regard for anyone except their own warped and violent egos.”

The north’s justice minister praised the work of the police in intercepting the mortars.

“For the second time in less than a week the PSNI has removed deadly materials from our streets. Clearly the intention in Derry was to launch an attack which could have resulted in multiple casualties,” David Ford said.

We owe the PSNI a huge debt of gratitude for the excellent work they perform day and daily right across Northern Ireland keeping our community safe. I would also thank the army technical officers, whose expertise in Derry, and at other locations over the weekend, prevented serious injury or damage to property.

“We can easily see the contrast between those who are reckless about the impact they have on the community and those who are seeking to protect them from harm.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police or the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.