Londonderry hotel bombers contemptible: Villiers

Bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion at the Waterfoot Hotel in Londonderry
Bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion at the Waterfoot Hotel in Londonderry

Bombers who left a device at a hotel ahead of a police recruitment event in Londonderry are “contemptible”, the Secretary of State has said.

The attackers intended to stop recruits from making the Province a better place, Theresa Villiers added.

The explosive was discovered on Friday at the Waterfoot Hotel. A controlled explosion was carried out.

A PSNI recruitment session is due to be held at the hotel next week.

Ms Villiers said: “This device was intended to cause injury and sought to stop those people who want to secure a career in policing to serve their community and make Northern Ireland a better place.

“It is a potent reminder of the threat the police and public still face from terrorism.

“The contemptible actions of those behind this incident are an affront to everyone who wants a peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland.”

Dissident republicans have killed a number of police officers in the past. Catholic officers have been particular targets.

Police have said the threat level is severe and are on high alert for more attacks.

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.”

Police have received approximately 2,400 applications in this current recruitment process.

The force is under pressure from financial cuts and faces making more savings as the political deadlock at Stormont affects all public spending.

Justice Minister David Ford said: “It is clear that whoever left this device was targeting the local community using the hotel facilities. The PSNI event had been cancelled and only hotel guests were in the vicinity.

“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.”