Bomb disposal experts have carried out a controlled explosion after a “viable explosive device” was found at a hotel hosting a police recruitment event.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the device in the grounds of the Waterfoot Hotel in Londonderry was initially thought to be an elaborate hoax but further examination revealed it was a functioning weapon.
The hotel is the site of one of three “familiarisation” events being held by the PSNI this weekend, all of which were the subject of security alerts that started yesterday.
The PSNI said similar alerts at the Millfield Campus of Belfast Metropolitan College and Strule Arts Centre in Omagh had now ended and nothing untoward was found.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “This device had the potential to harm anyone in the area and those involved have shown total disregard for human life. We are obviously very thankful that this attack was thwarted and that no one was killed or seriously injured. “
Clearly there are people out there in today’s society who are still intent on targeting our police service and causing harm to our communities. We know, however, that the actions of these few misguided individuals will not stop people pursuing a career in policing.”
Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford said the attempted bombing was “senseless”.
He said: “ This senseless attack and the hoaxes in other locations are to be condemned without reservation.
“Early indications are that a large number of people are interested in joining the PSNI, and this should send a clear signal to any individual or group that the people of Northern Ireland have moved on and there is no support for violence.”
Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney added his condemnation, saying: “Those responsible for this bomb have nothing whatsoever to offer the people of Derry.
“Not only have they brought disruption to the city, they have also endangered the safety of hotel staff, guests, customers and passers-by.
“Their reckless actions are so far out of touch with the views of the vast majority of the people of Derry. They need to listen to the voice of the people and end these futile actions immediately.”