Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has condemned today’s attempted bombing of a Belfast shopping centre as “attempted murder”.
A bomb partially exploded under Victoria Square shopping centre after a terrified driver was forced to bring up to 130lb of home-made explosives into Belfast's main commercial hub in the run-up to Christmas.
The detonator exploded but failed to trigger the rest of the device in a car park under the building.
"It is nothing short of attempted murder, and comes in the wake of a number of recent incidents, all of which have been perpetrated by people who are without any political support and who have a reckless disregard for human life," Minister Gilmore said.
"A serious incident such as this, as we move into the Christmas shopping period, is an attempt to harm trade, tourism and employment in Belfast. I urge anyone with information to pass it directly on to the PSNI."
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams also hit out at those behind a failed attack, stating they had no support and that there was no rationale behind their actions which he described as “utterly pointless”.
Deputy Adams said: “It is sadly ironic that on the day that we are bringing the remains of Fr Alec Reid back to Belfast, we are dealing with the aftermath of a failed bomb attack in the city.
“There is no public support for these type of actions. The vast majority of people, north and south are fully behind the peace process.
“This has been evident in the outpouring of sympathy and love for the late Fr Alec Reid who was such a pivotal figure particularly in the early days of this process.
“All political objectives can now be pursued peacefully and democratically. Not least because of the work of Fr Alec Reid.
“There is no reason or rationale for the engaging in or promoting violent actions. Those behind such utterly pointless actions must cease immediately.”