Video: Oireachtas condemns Derry bomb on first routine sitting after First Dáil and Soloheadbeg commemorations

Last weekend's car bomb in Derry has been widely condemned by members of the Oireachtas including the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, on its return to normal business after the official commemorations of the 'First Dáil' on Monday.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 11:42 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:37 pm
CCTV image showing the fireball after the detonation of a car bomb outside the courthouse on Bishop Street, Londonderry on Saturday

Mr. Varadkar told T.D.s the people of Ireland had rejected political violence countless times and that the PSNI and An Garda Síochaná were working closely to try to apprehend those republicans 'hell-bent on violence' who are believed to have carried out the bombing on Saturday.

Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin remarked: "On the car bomb in Derry last Saturday night, it was pure chance that a group of teenagers which passed the car was not caught by the blast.

"I ask the Taoiseach to indicate the security assessment regarding the potential of the organisations suspected of involvement and the degree of co-operation between the PSNI and An Garda Síochána in regard to the organisations' activities."

CCTV image showing the fireball after the detonation of a car bomb outside the courthouse on Bishop Street, Londonderry on Saturday

The Taoiseach responded: "With regard to the events in Derry, once again I condemn in no uncertain terms the car bomb and the subsequent violence.

"It is not wanted in Derry. I have been to that city many times in the past year or two and know its good people do not want to see this kind of violence back on their streets.

"We are blessed that no life was lost as a consequence of the events. We have rejected political violence as a people on countless occasions in the past decade and we still reject it today. There is very good co-operation between the PSNI and Garda Síochána on dealing with republican groups hell-bent on violence."

The Tánaiste Simon Coveney also condemned the Derry bombing from the floor of the Seanad.

Wreckage.

"The Government condemns in the strongest possible terms Saturday's car bomb in Derry," he said.

"I spoke to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland yesterday [Monday] and I offered both our concern and assistance.

"The police investigation is ongoing to bring to justice those who are behind this act of terrorism. Such violence has been rejected by the people of this island again and again.

"The group that carried out this act cannot claim in any way to be acting on behalf of the Irish people. I know Senators from all parties and none will share in this condemnation. There can be no return to the dark days of the past anywhere on this island."

Leo Varadkar.

Several Senators expressed concern over the bomb attack.

The Fianna Fáil leader in the Seanad, Catherine Ardagh, said she feared a 'resurgence' of violence republicanism with the continuing political vacuum in the North and uncertainty over Brexit.

"I condemn in the strongest terms on behalf of the Fianna Fáil group the car bombing at Bishop Street in Derry at the weekend.

"It shows how delicate and fragile the situation in the North is at the moment and that we cannot take for granted the Good Friday Agreement and peace on this island. What we have in the Good Friday Agreement must be nourished continuously and we cannot take our eyes off it at any stage.

"It was confirmed today by the Commission that a no-deal Brexit will result in a hard border, which is something we all knew.

"Unfortunately, the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the imminent threat of a hard border has added fuel to the fire of some dissident groups and provided them with a raison d'être. As a result, we are seeing some sort of resurgence," she said.

Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh said: "I certainly want to condemn the car bomb in Derry and the other actions and I welcome the fact that it has been condemned by all leadership in the North and every right-minded citizen.

"There is no support or tolerance for that behaviour. We have a pathway to peace. We have peace and a pathway to Irish unity - in fact, we have never been closer to Irish unity.

"The conversations and discussions now being had in civic society about the possibility of Irish unity mean we can further garner support for Irish unity across the board. There is no support, tolerance or justification for these actions and I would ask those responsible to just stop that behaviour."

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik said: "I echo the words of others in condemning the car bombing in Derry and those involved in carrying it out. It reminds us of the really serious and very real fears that a hard border will follow if Britain crashes out of the EU on March 29.

"The EU Commission confirmed today [Tuesday] that a no-deal Brexit will mean the return of a hard border. That is a really serious worry for everyone."

Fine Gael Senator Maria Byrne said: "I, too, condemn the bombings in Derry at the weekend. It was horrific and frightening to see the videos on the news."

Independent Senator Alice Mary Higgins compared the events in Derry with recent events in Poland.

She mentioned the murder of the Mayor of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz, and said: "There was also an incident where a bomb was placed in The Diamond in Derry, the heart of the city.

"These are all challenges to democracy and it is important that we never retreat from them but instead redouble our commitment to democratic debate and to representation of the people as sovereign."

Fine Gael Senator James Reilly concurred, stating: "My only comment about the issues raised in respect of the bomb in Derry and the violence and murder in Gdansk is that our democracy is a fragile thing and needs to be constantly nurtured and minded. Sometimes we take it for granted."