A BOMB LEFT by dissidents in Derry at the weekend – which would have wrecked the city’s historic Church of Ireland Cathedral – is leading to major traffic delays today.
Copys say the bomb is a ‘substantial viable device’.
Children as young as seven attending a choir rehearsal at St Columb’s Cathedral had to be evacuated during Sunday night’s alert.
PSNI District Commander, Stephen Martin, said he believed it was left by dissident republicans, and could have caused death or serious injury.
Dozens of elderly residents – mostly Protestants – were also moved from a sheltered housing development due to the alert.
“If a bomb such as this had gone off it would have killed or seriously injured people,” said Martin.
“It would have caused substantial damage to nearby property; to the courthouse, to the Masonic Hall, to the Deanery, to other residents.
“It would have probably damaged the residential home, Alexander House.
“It’s just a highly built up residential part of the city within the walls and a device this size would have caused considerable devastation.”
Dean William Morton of St Columb’s Cathedral described the incident as a “logistical nightmare”.
He contacted parents of choirboys, some of them as young as seven, who were at the Cathedral for a rehearsal for the opera, Tosca.
“It’s achieving absolutely nothing other than galvanising the resolve on the part of the huge majority of people here to move ahead,” he said.
Sinn Fein MLA, Martina Anderson, said the device was out of step with the views of the vast majority of the people of the city.
Community worker, Charlie McMenamin, helped to transport the residents to another sheltered housing facility.
“Obviously being elderly they’re upset,” he said.
“They’re not used to this situation where they’re being moved around without any sort of notice.
He said one woman had told him, “I am sorry I moved to Derry.”
The security alert is ongoing, with traffic being diverted away from the Bishop Street area.