Northern Ireland

Reaction to bomb attack on prison officer in east Belfast

A bomb exploded under a van in east Belfast on Friday morning Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption A bomb exploded under a van in east Belfast on Friday morning

There has been widespread condemnation following a bomb attack on a prison officer in east Belfast. The 52-year-old man was taken to hospital after a bomb exploded under his van on Friday morning.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers

"This attack was a demonstration of how lethal the terrorist threat continues to be in Northern Ireland.

"Thankfully these incidents happen very rarely but that is only because of the outstanding work of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and their security partners in preventing these attacks from happening most of the time," she added.

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

"Our thoughts and prayers are with this senior prison officer and his family as he is treated for his injuries in hospital.

"We join all right-thinking people in condemning these cowardly actions. As a prison officer, he is someone who serves and protects our community and we are united in our rejection of this attack."

Finlay Spratt from the Prison Officers Association

"There is no let up for prison officers, we can't live a normal life, we're not allowed to live a normal life by these thugs.

"It doesn't matter how often you condemn it, it just seems to go on and on and they're attacking people who are serving the community, all the community."

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt

"I utterly condemn this morning's attack on a prison officer.

"It is a barbaric act which must be condemned by wider society."

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly

"There can be no place for such attacks in our society.

"Those behind attacks like this represent no one and have nothing to offer the community."

Justice Minister David Ford

Image copyright PAcemaker

"Those behind this callous attack have once again shown an utter disregard for human life.

"Those involved in carrying out this misguided attack and those who planned it should see the futility of their actions."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood

"They need to understand that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us and the first generation brought up in peace will not stand for it.

"My thoughts and prayers and that of all party members are with the victim and his family during what must be an incredibly distressing time."

DUP MLA Robin Newton

"The person or persons who planted the device must be condemned by all right thinking people.

"This is a despicable act and it is fortunate that we are not talking about serious injury or even a fatality today."

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan

"This callous and cowardly incident must be utterly condemned.

"Not only was it targeted on an individual public servant, it represented a futile attack on the entire community which is determined to achieve a peaceful and reconciled society in Northern Ireland."

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