O’Dowd: Lurgan attack ‘simply wrong on all levels – we all deserve better’

John O'Dowd said there is 'an alternative to conflict'
John O'Dowd said there is 'an alternative to conflict'

Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd has led the condemnation of a bomb attack on police in Lurgan.

Mr O’Dowd, education minister and MLA for Upper Bann, made the claim whilst condemning Saturday’s bomb attack in Lurgan.

John O'Dowd, Education Minister

John O'Dowd, Education Minister

He had said that “continued militant republicanism is counter productive and is a product of MI5 and war junkies working together”.

Condemning Saturday’s explosion in the Victoria Street area, Mr O’Dowd said it is “simply wrong on all levels”.

“The lives of PSNI officers, civilians and dissident foot soldiers are irrelevant in the eyes of the war junkies in suits and their pals in balaclavas,” he said.

“We all deserve better, especially our young people. There is an alternative to conflict, to death and prison.

“It requires hard work and dedication. It is frustrating at times but working.”

Former Craigavon mayor Colin McCusker said: “I really do despair for this area of Lurgan.

“A small minority, indeed a tiny group seem intent on disrupting the lives of the vast majority of people, not just in Lurgan, but the whole of Northern Ireland.

“What purpose they are serving is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain – they do not have the support of the people of Lurgan, and have nothing to offer the young people of north Lurgan in particular.”

DUP councillor Carla Lockhart said: “There has always been a dissident republican element in the Lurgan area who have been intent on dragging Northern Ireland back.

“Terrorism has always been wrong. The terrorists of the 1970s failed and the terrorists of 2015 will also fail.”

SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly said: “This plot was orchestrated to deliberately take the lives of police. Those responsible showed a total disregard not only for the safety of PSNI officers but also for the people of Lurgan – the bombs were planted in an area that thousands of people pass through each day.”

Alliance justice spokesperson Stewart Dickson said: “This was a cold, calculated move designed to lure PSNI officers to the area with the aim of murdering them.

“The officers targeted were in the area to protect everyone and it is sickening that they could have been lured in such a way that also put local residents at risk.”