SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said that an attack on a police officer in Omagh this evening is a chilling attack on an individual serving his community and must be treated as an attack on the people of Ireland who have long rejected this kind of senseless violence.
Colum Eastwood MP said:
“The brutal attack on a police officer in Omagh this evening is a chilling reminder of the horrifying violence that criminal gangs are willing to visit on the people of Northern Ireland.
“My thoughts and the thoughts of my SDLP colleagues are with the man and with the paramedics, doctors, nurses and police colleagues looking after him at this time. In the face of appalling violence that has no place in modern Ireland, their bravery and selfless dedication to service is an enduring reminder that for every individual determined to tear us apart, there are hundreds more committed to defending our peace and all those who live under it.
“Those behind this attack are committed to the fallacy that they are at war with the British establishment. Let me say very clearly to them that they are not. As I have said before, their fight is not with the British Government or the PSNI. Their fight is with the people of Ireland who have chosen peace. And it is a fight that they will never, never win.
“That an attack like this took place in Omagh, a place that bears the scars of violence more than many others but where people have shown immense strength, compassion and grace, must make this a powerful moment of reflection for all of us. This is a moment to rededicate ourselves to the primacy of peace and resistance against violence. It is a moment for us all, one community and one people, to say we are never going back to this - not in our name.
“I will be speaking to the Chief Constable and the Secretary of State about this attack in the days ahead. But for now, my thoughts remain with an officer who was serving his community and I hope that he makes a recovery.”