Second busiest shopping day ruined by bomb alert

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Today is what should be the second busiest day for retailers in the whole year, only next Saturday should see more footfall and more turnover. However, with many already avoiding the city centre because of the ongoing protests news of a bomb alert in Castle Court will not help the local economy.

The Saturdays in December are often ones that can help ensure survival of stores in hard economic times. But with the impact last weekend of the march to City Hall and this bomb alert affecting two of the busiest days of the year Belfast mind find that a number of retailers will be struggling even more come to new year, that they had hoped.

The idiots who called in the coded warning about a bomb in Castle Court this afternoon are not helping anyone in Northern Ireland. They are not helping the shoppers who were trying to go about their shopping on a busy day. They are not helping the retailers who were hoping to see a turnaround in what has already been a tougher than expected live. They are not helping the workers and unemployed of Northern Ireland as investors look at the ongoing unrest and consider whether to invest or continue to operate here.

Unemployment has fallen elsewhere in the UK last month once again, but here in Northern Ireland it continues to rise. This bomb alert is going to further exacerbate that situation. Northern Ireland was doing so well, but now we appear to be doing our best to undo all that good progress over recent years.

bombing is not the way forward

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Disruption to life once more in the North West

On Saturday 21 May 2011 there was a security alert at the NW200 Ireland’s most famous road race. This alert was declared a hoax after police had searched the paddock. Unfortunately, there was only one race completed this year as on top of the hoax alert there was a major oil spill which meant that the event had to be abandoned. So bad luck on top of the actions of those responsible for the hoax security alert has meant that thousands of fans of motorcycling have gone away with very little seen this year.

This is very disappointing for the fans, as well as for the riders. However, safety is always important. I hope that next year the races will be back on and running safely.

Also today there was an explosion in Derry. Police Chief Inspector John Burrows has said that

there was sheer panic…
There were young children who had to be evacuated. People could have been killed when this explosion went off.

Fortunately there were no reports of injuries or damage when the bomb did go off. The bomb was thrown into a branch of the bank Santander in Shipquay Street by masked men.

Both these events today have been undertaken by people who are the enemies of liberty, equality and community. I call on anyone who has any information concerning these two crimes to report this to the Police Service of Northern Ireland as quickly as possible. It is vital that the criminals behind these events are found and brought to justice.

Gather for peace, democracy, and justice – Lib Dems call for support

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Michael Carchrie Campbell, chair of the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats today urged support for the ICTU NI-organised assembly at Belfast City Hall tomorrow from 1pm to 1.15pm to show our publici abhorrence at the murder of PC Ronan Kerr.

Michael said:

I will be attending the assembly at Belfast City Hall at 1pm on Wednesday 6th April 2011 to show my abhorrence of the murder of PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr. The assembly is being organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Northern Ireland.

 

I urge all members of the public to attend and let us all stand firm to show those responsible for Saturday’s atrocity and the many recent and ongoing security alerts across Northern Ireland that they are acting not in our name.

Omagh car bomb condemned and community urged to stand firm against such atrocities

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Police Service of Northern Ireland

Image via Wikipedia

Reacting to the news that a 25 year old police officer has been killed in Omagh by a booby trap car bomb, local party chair, Michael Carchrie Campbell said:

I condemn utterly the actions today of the terrorists who have carried out this atrocity. They must be aware that the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland do not want us to go back to the days before the peace agreement. Together the rest of us in Northern Ireland must stand firm against this latest act of terrorism.

As Northern Ireland prepares to go to the polls to elect new councillors, new MLAs and to vote in the Referendum on the voting system for Parliament on May 5th, we are looking forward to a freer, fairer, and more open society, not one of fear and worry.My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and colleagues of Ronan Kerr at this time and in the days to come.

I urge anyone with any information as to who is responsible for this outrage against the people of Northern Ireland to come forward and contact the Police Service of Northern Ireland on 0845 600 8000, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Paramilitaries Back Off – Let’s Stop the Suicides

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There are few things worse than when a young life is snuffed out. It is worse if that young life sees no option for themself but to take their own life.

Recently there has been a lot of global headlines recently for the number of young LGBT people who have felt pressure from bullies to take their own life. But here in Northern Ireland there is another pressure that can come upon young lives. Threats from loyalist paramilitaries over debts accrued or for doing something wrong have led to a number of young people in the Shankhill area taking or contemplating taking their own lives.

Michael Robinson a teen suicide victim

18-year-old Michael Robinson who took his own life 6 weeks ago.

It is too late for 18-year-old Michael Robinson who 6 weeks ago took his own life because he was threatened, after owing money to these thugs. But others are facing the same sort of threats that he faced, teenagers at a youth club in the area said:

“Your childhood is supposed to be the best period of your life and that’s what you always hear from adults and you’re supposed to be able to have a laugh with your mates and be a bit boisterous.

“I don’t think anyone should be getting threatened by paramilitaries about getting their knees blown off anything like that is too far and would drive you to having suicidal thoughts.”

It is time for the paramilitaries to back off. Their threats and heavy-handedness is leading to young people fearing the worse and therefore doing far worse to themselves than maybe what the threat of violence was that was facing them. Ending in them taking their own lives.

However, if you are feeling pressured and contemplating taking your own life talk to someone a friend, a member of your family, a youth worker. If you can’t or don’t want to talk to anyone that knows you then you can call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or email them at jo@samaritans.org

Bomb blast in Derry – Enough is enough

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The remains of a car which exploded in Derry/Londonderry on 3 August 2010.

The news that there has been a bomb in Londonderry comes just as I was turning in for the night. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is warning that there will be traffic disruption on Tuesday morning.

This is the second bomb near the area of Strand Road / Culmore Road in two months. The first was on 3 August outside Strand Road PSNI station. Tonight’s exploded outside the Da Vinci centre on Culmore Road, and has caused damage to many shops and local businesses.

Although, at the time of writing, there appears to have been no claiming of this attack, it seems pretty clear that it will be the work of the so-called dissident republican terrorists.

It is clear that they feel threatened by how Northern Ireland has changed, by how we have moved on so that the politicians elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly are working together for the betterment of the whole community.

That self same community of Northern Ireland needs to stand up and join me in saying

Enough is enough.

I urge anyone with any information about tonight’s attack to contact the Police Service of Northern Ireland on

Tel: 0845 600 8000

or by email : foyleDCU@psni.pnn.police.uk

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers