Northern Ireland: dissident republicans suspected of attempted murder of a police officer

Northern Ireland: Dissident Republicans suspected of attempted murder on a policeman


An attempted murder investigation has been opened after a police officer was shot and seriously injured in Northern Ireland, with police citing the trail of dissident Republicans on Thursday. 

The attack, a month and a half 25 years from the peace agreement that ended the conflict in Northern Ireland, occurred during football training with children.

Police say John Cadwell, an experienced off-duty police officer, was taken to hospital in a “critical but stable” condition Thursday morning.

He was shot on it by two men on several occasions while he was at a sports complex on Wednesday evening in the town of Omagh, in the center of the British province, according to the police in Northern Ireland, who have launched an appeal for witnesses.< /p>

While the investigation does not rule out any leads, it is focusing on that of “violent dissident republicans”, hostile to membership in the United Kingdom, and in particular on the new IRA, declared on Thursday on the BBC Ulster the assistant commissioner Mark McEwan.

The attack has not yet been the subject of any claims.

In April 2021, a bomb was planted under a policewoman's car outside her home, an act claimed by the New IRA, a republican group splintering from the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

< p>The group had also admitted being responsible for the death of Lyra McKee, a journalist killed in April 2019 while covering clashes in the city of Londonderry.

The new IRA had apologized to relatives of the young woman, explaining that she was alongside the police.

These events had raised the specter of the “Troubles”, this violence having opposed for three decades Republicans (mainly Catholics in favor of the reunification of Ireland) and Protestant Unionists, fervent defenders of the belonging of the north of the island to the United Kingdom.

The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 ended this conflict which claimed 3,500 lives and established a fragile peace, but paramilitary groups remained active.

< p>British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “horrified by the shameful shooting of an off-duty police officer”. “There is no place in our society for those who seek to harm public servants who protect the public,” he added in a tweet.

Republican Party leader Sinn Fein (majority), Michelle O'Neill, denounced an attack “scandalous and shameful”.

The leader of the unionist party DUP Jeffrey Donaldson, committed to keeping the province in the bosom of London, has he condemned the “cowards” behind this attack. “These terrorists have nothing to offer and they must be brought to justice,” he added.

The attack comes at a delicate political moment for the British province, where Brexit has reignited community tensions.

Local institutions, supposed to be shared between communities, have been blocked for more than a year. London is currently trying to agree with Brussels on a modification of the customs status of the province and to bring back the unionists in a local government.