Memories of The Troubles have been made fresh again, following an attempt to kill police in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, on Saturday. It is thought that the plot was the work of dissident Irish republicans, according to The Belfast Telegraph. The police were called to Lurgan after a call was placed to the charity Samaritans, saying that a bomb which had targeted police did not go off.
The Independent reports that after police arrived on the scene and discovered a non-viable device, another bomb exploded. Police were also pelted with petrol bombs during the attack.
During The Troubles in Northern Ireland, it was a common practice of Republican groups to phone in warnings after a bomb had been placed. For example, 40-minutes before the Omagh Bombing of 1998, which killed 29, a warning giving the bomb’s rough location was received by Ulster Television.
Police Superintendent David Moore said that be believes the attack deliberately targeted police officers, according to The Belfast Telegraph.
“It is my belief that the phone call and the first device were designed to lure police into the area to be targeted by the second device.” He added, “this was a clear and unequivocal murder attempt on the policemen and women who serve the community in Lurgan.”
Northern Irish republican and unionist leaders condemned the bombing. Both Peter Robinson, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and Gerry Adams, President of the republican party Sinn Fein, tweeted out their thoughts on the attack.
Those firing shots in L’Derry & planting bombs in Lurgan have no place on our streets. Northern Ireland wants to go forward not back.
— Peter Robinson (@DUPleader) July 19, 2015
Those behind Lurgan attack are enemies of peace, progress and Irish unity. http://t.co/kOHRsfJ19z
— Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) July 19, 2015
There have recently been renewals of activities more associated with The Troubles by both republicans and unionists. Robinson’s reference to shots in Londonderry relates to shots being fired over the coffin of Peggy O’Hara, mother of hunger striker Patsy O’Hara, who died of hunger in 1981 at the notorious Maze Prison.
UTV reports that masked men fired shots over her coffin, with the IrishRepublicanNews twitter account claiming the men were volunteers from the Irish National Liberation Army. An honor guard was also formed for O’Hara by the Irish Republican Socialist Party, according to UTV and republican twitter account, SmashStormont.
IRSM guard of honour for the funeral of Peggy O’Hara pic.twitter.com/h2ra38UDNz
— #SmashStormont (@AntiStormont) July 18, 2015
As well as the Lurgan attack, the week also saw rioting in Belfast, after police prevented the unionist group, The Orange Order, from marching through a republican area of the city. The rioting saw police being showered with missiles and a 16-year-old girl, who was on the republican side of the police lines, being hit by a car, according to The Daily Mirror.
The Lurgan police attack, combined with other recent events show that, while there may be peace in Northern Ireland, it is a fragile one indeed.