Further disruption to local community

By David Whelan

By david whelan       d.whelan@belfastmediagroup.com

A LEADING PSNI officer has said that he does not believe the latest spike in security incidents, which have caused serious disruption in nationalist areas of North Belfast, is an upscaling of dissident republican activity but warned that it is ‘a stark reminder of the situation’.

Chief Superindent Nigel Grimshaw, was speaking after a device which failed to detonate was thrown at a police patrol close to the Holy Cross Church on the Crumlin Road on Monday night (October 6), sparking a major security alert and causing mass disruption amoung the community.

That attack was followed by the discovery of a ‘viable device’ on the Arthur Road near the nationalist Longlands estate on Wednesday. A number of houses had to be evacuated and people were kept from their homes for over five hours.

The incidents are the latest in a series of dissident republican activity which seen the shooting of a young man during the height of the Ardoyne Fleadh, warnings issued over alleged drug dealers, the placing of suspect devices and attacks on vehicles and property.

It is believed that the paramilitary group made up of previously disparate dissident republicans calling itself ‘The IRA’ are behind the more high profile incidents such as that at Holy Cross but there have also been threats made against members of the community by Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH) in recent months.

In December last year, shots were fired at three police vehicles from the same location as the pipe bomb was thrown.

On Tuesday (October 7), police said that they were unsure which group was responsible for the Holy Cross attack until further investigations could be carried out. This morning (Thursday October 9), a 35-year-old man was arrested in North Belfast as part of an investigation into dissident republican activity.

The incidents which have had a severe impact on the North Belfast community have raised questions as to why the PSNI have been unable to curtail the micro groups’ activity in North Belfast or secure convictions.

Chief Superindentent Grimshaw warned that impending cuts would further hamper their ability to deal with the threat posed.

“We are on record as saying that that is the reality of policing in this particular district and it is important that the public understand that we have come so far including in this part of Belfast but we have a way to go and we want to continue making progress.

“Policing has a huge part to play in that but we are dealing with a severe level of threat and we need the resources to do that.”

 

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