Representatives of the retail and hospitality industries in Derry have condemned the car bomb attack in the city as “shameful”.
The blast happened on Bishop Street just after 8pm on Saturday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people including hotel guests, 150 people from the Masonic Hall and a large number of children from a church youth club.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said police officers got everyone evacuated “just in time”.
“The bomb detonated just as we were leaving the area and it is only by good grace that local people were not killed,” he said.
Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts described the attack as “totally shameful and despicable”.
“Derry city centre traders have been working extremely hard in recent years to provide an excellent retail and hospitality offer,” he said.
“The people of Derry have shown their resilience many times and I have no doubt this reckless attack will not hold them back”
Colin Neill, Chief Executive, media statement 11.30am 20.01.19. “We are a resilient bunch in the hospitality sector and this incident last night will not deter us from opening today and getting on with the job.” pic.twitter.com/UXBtGDK1FS— Hospitality Ulster (@HospUlster) January 20, 2019
“The city will continue to move forward”
Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said a number of businesses affected by the attack had opened as normal on Sunday.
“We are a resilient bunch in the hospitality sector and this incident last night will not deter us from opening today and getting on with the job,” he said.
“We have been in touch with many of the businesses impacted by the situation in Bishop Street and the surrounding area and they have bounced back straight away, opening for business with normal trading hours and welcoming visitors and tourists back to the city.”
The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Ken Good described the bomb attack as an “act of utter recklessness which showed a callous disregard for the lives and safety of local citizens and visitors alike”.
“It defies belief that anyone would place a bomb on a city centre street, early on a Saturday evening, so close to people’s homes, churches, a hotel, sheltered accommodation, nearby pubs and a large car park.
“St Columb’s Cathedral and St Augustine’s Church, where a group of young people had been meeting yesterday evening, have both had to cancel their Sunday morning services while the police carry out a follow-up security operation,” he said.
Meanwhile the courts service has announced that alternative arrangements have been put in place for cases that had been due to be heard at Derry courthouse on Monday.
Crown Court trials with juries have been adjourned until Tuesday while all other Crown Court business, non-trial and jury business, will be dealt with at Coleraine Courthouse on Monday.
Magistrates’ Court business will be dealt with at Strabane Court No 1, and County Court equity business will be dealt with at Strabane Court No 2 on Monday.
- Press Association