There has been a worrying increase in the number and tempo of dissident republican attacks in Derry and other parts of Northern Ireland. In the past ten days, the PSNI have recovered two bombs which they have attributed to the 'New IRA' and which they believe were intended to kill PSNI officers. During the search operation to retrieve the second bomb, in the Creggan area of Derry, the PSNI came under sustained attack from missiles and petrol bombs thrown by young people thought to be directed by older New IRA elements. In the previous week, there were also three paramilitary style attacks which have resulted in six people being injured.
Let me reiterate, there is no place and no possible justification for the use or the threat of violence on this island. The people of this island endorsed the Good Friday Agreement making clear that the only way to change the constitutional status of Northern Ireland is by peaceful and democratic means and through consent. I call again on those engaged in violence to cease now, your actions are repugnant to the people of this island and are counter-productive to the vision you wrongly claim to represent.
This level of violence is entirely unacceptable and causes untold disruption and anxiety within communities. The people of the Derry City and Strabane District have been unequivocal in their condemnation of this violence and local politicians have been consistent in urging those responsible to get off the backs of the local communities.
My officials are in regular contact with local political and community representatives as well as the PSNI and will continue this engagement during this period of increased tension.
I am in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Julian Smith MP, and I met with him on Monday 16 September, as did my colleague the Minister for Justice Charles Flanagan. Both Governments are acutely aware that the current political vacuum is creating a situation which sinister elements such at the New IRA are seeking to exploit. We are continuing to work together on efforts to restore a functioning Executive and Assembly which will bring much needed stability for dealing with these types of threats.