HC Deb 19 January 1998 vol 304 cc396-7W
Mr. Maginnis

To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the source, route in and component elements of the car bomb defused in Banbridge on 6 January; and if he will make a statement. [22911]

The Prime Minister

The RUC have advised that, at approximately 1900 hours on 6 January 1998, telephone calls were received by a radio station in Drogheda and the Samaritans in Newry warning that a bomb in a red Sierra car in the centre of Banbridge was due to explode in 20 minutes. The car was located in Newry Street, Banbridge and the area was cleared. Following a number of controlled explosions carried out by an Army Technical Officer, the device, which comprised approximately 500 lbs of home-made explosive, was declared safe.

Police investigations into who or which organisation was responsible are continuing but the RUC have established that the vehicle passed through the border crossing point on the main Dundalk to Newry Road, travelling towards Newry at around 1800 hours on 6 January 1998.

Unfortunately there are some in Northern Ireland not yet prepared to follow the path of peace and democracy and the RUC and Army remain alert to the possibility of incidents such as this. They deserve great praise for clearing this device and preventing what could have been widespread damage, injuries and deaths.