A hospitality tycoon has heaped praise on his staff and pledged to reopen tomorrow after a bomb blast.
Sir William Hastings, chairman of the eponymous hotel group which includes the Stormont and Europa hotels, said that the attack on the Everglades in Londonderry risks damaging the city’s tourism appeal.
Sir William issued a statement saying: “It is extremely sad that the professional staff and management of the Everglades Hotel have had to deal with such a traumatic experience.
“I would like to praise the General Manager, Neil Devlin, recently named ‘Hotel Manager of the Year for Northern Ireland’, and his excellent team for acting so quickly and professionally to avert a major atrocity”.
The device had been tossed into the lobby by a masked man at around 11.15pm last night.
As the military moved in to defuse it, it exploded, incinerating much of the reception area.
His statement added: “The main loser here is the city of Derry~Londonderry, a city which does not deserve this after the excellent work in attracting more and more visitors in recent years.
“This despicable action has the potential to damage the tourism industry in Derry~Londonderry but with my experience of the people in the city and their resolve I am confident this will not deflect them from their efforts to help continue to take the city forward”.
He said they hope to be back to business-as-usual tomorrow morning.