‘Hands blown off’ fears for posties

The ATO have been tasked to Londonderry alert.
The ATO have been tasked to Londonderry alert.

A Derry postman says more needs to be done to reduce the risk of staff having their “hands blown off” in a dissident republican letter bomb campaign.

The postal worker, who didn’t want to be named, told the ‘Journal’ this week that Royal Mail’s response to the ongoing threat has, to date, been “less than satisfactory”.

However, Royal Mail has rejected the claims, insisting the safety of its people “is our number one priority at this time.”

Police remain on high alert following a series of letter bomb attacks in recent days.

In the latest local incident, a suspicious package was sent to the Public Prosecution Service office in Derry’s Waterside on Monday.

Police confirmed it was “of a similar nature” to those sent to senior police officers and discovered at postal sorting offices in Co. Antrim last week.

Dissident republicans have been blamed for sending them.

Postal workers in Derry held a meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss concerns over their safety.

One Derry postman says he’s not convinced his employer is doing enough to protect workers.

“After all, when you’re an innocent postman, it’s not very reassuring to know that you’re coming to your work, where you handle hundreds of parcels on a daily basis, and one of them might be a bomb,” he said.

He claimed that, in spite of the threat, postal staff had not received any concrete protocol or identification tips on how to deal with suspicious packages.

“I have to say I’m not convinced the company is doing all in its power to safeguard staff,” he added.

In response, Gary Crawford, General Manager for Royal Mail in Northern Ireland, insisted it was doing everything it possibly could to protect its people “as they go about their daily jobs serving communities across Northern Ireland.”

He added: “The sending of explosive devices via the postal system is of great concern to Royal Mail and is clearly worrying for our people... We have rigorous procedures and protocols in place to deal with suspect devices and trained personnel who manage these situations on the ground.

“Our employees are regularly briefed on these protocols which are under constant scrutiny and review. All of our staff in depots across Northern Ireland, including in Londonderry, have been fully briefed over the past week on what to look out for and what do if they believe any item of mail is suspect. Anyone in our Derry office who still has concerns must talk to their line manager so we can discuss these issues on a one to one basis. The safety of our people is our number one priority at this time.”