Army return ruled out in fight against Real IRA

The Government today ruled out bringing the Army to the streets of Northern Ireland in the fight against dissident republicans.

Senior unionists suggested the soldiers should be deployed or that more resources should be given to the PSNI after the Real IRA planted a massive bomb in Forkhill, south Armagh.



Former DUP Junior Minister Jeffrey Donaldson said: “We either have additional police resources or we have the Army back.



“This dissident threat is growing all the time,” he added.



And Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy said he would also back a call for a return of troops.



However a spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office today told the Telegraph: “Operation Banner in which the Army provided routine support for police ended in 2007 and won’t be reactivated.”



Police said the bomb, containing 600lb of home-made explosives, had the potential to cause “terrible carnage” had it exploded on the country road on the Armagh/Monaghan border. The device which was 100lb bigger than the Omagh bomb was left just 50 feet from a nearby home – forcing 20 residents\[Chris Cairns\] — including a 10-day-old baby — to flee their homes during the four-day operation to defuse the huge bomb.



A faction of the Real IRA, calling itself Oglaigh na hEireann (OHN), claimed responsibility for planting the massive device in a telephone call to a newspaper.



Anti-terrorist officers said the bomb, which was planted in concealed drums on the northern side of the Louth-Armagh border with the detonation unit hidden in the Republic, was intended to blow up a PSNI patrol.



The home-made bomb was defused by Army officers at Carrive Road outside Forkhill yesterday. A bomb disposal team from the Republic was also involved.



It is believed the bombers belong to a 12-man gang aligned to leading dissident republican Liam Campbell based in the Carlingford area of Co Louth.



In June Campbell was among four men named as being responsible for the 1998 Omagh explosion.



Yesterday PSNI commander for Newry and Mourne, Chief Inspector Sam Cordner, said the explosion “would have demolished local housing with fatal consequence”.



Mr Cordner said: “Their actions were reckless and dangerous in the extreme. Their target may have been the police, but they did not care who they killed or injured.”

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy