‘Get off our backs’

As politicians and traders united yesterday in condemning the recent spate of bomb attacks in the city Councillor Maeve McLaughlin, leader of the Sinn Fein grouping in Derry City Council said it was time the bombers “got off the backs of the community”.

Claiming the ordinary people of Derry were the biggest victims of the current bombing campaign being waged by dissident Republicans, Colr. McLaughlin added:

“If these people believe they are involved in some sort of noble campaign for the freedom of Ireland, they are sadly mistaken.

“The community is sick and tired of having their lives disrupted by hoax bomb alerts by people who are living in a fantasy world,” said Councillor McLaughlin.

Police yesterday returned to the scene of last Saturday’s bomb attack in the city centre and have appealed for anyone with any information to come forward.

Derry traders also met with Foyle MP Mark Durkan on Friday to express their concerns over the effect the recent attacks are having on city centre businesses.

“Once again we have yet another example of the disruptive impact of the violent efforts of so-called dissident groups,” the Foyle MP commented, condeming Friday’s bomb hoax..

Local businessman Brendan Duddy said the traders cannot understand why ordinary businesses and workers are being targeted.

“It is the local ordinary people of Derry who are the ones affected by all this and it is hard to understand why,” he said.

“Traders in Derry are just trying to get through and it is getting harder for anyone to survive in the current climate.”

Friday’s alert cause major disruption in the city when police received reports of a suspicious object in the Strand Road area.

Lower Clarendon Street, Harbour Square, Sackville Street and Little James Street were all closed to traffic and many businesses in the area were evacuated.

Last Saturday the area around the Diamond was closed down for the rest of the day after a device detonated at the Santander branch at lunchtime. The Richmond Centre and the Millennium Forum were subsequently evacuated after a suspicious device was found at the Halifax branch in Newmarket Street. It was found to be a hoax.