The Ulster Unionist Assembly member for Newry & Armagh, Danny Kennedy MLA, has expressed relief that the viable device dealt with by Army bomb experts on the Fathom Line outside Newry did not cause the harm it was clearly intended to do.
In a statement Mr Kennedy described those responsible for the device as "dangerous and dedicated terrorists, who are determined to cause serious harm, injury and death to members of the security forces regardless of the consequences to local communities".
Mr Kennedy, who is also the Regional Development Minister, said he was very concerned at the increasing number of attacks planned and executed by Republican dissidents in the Newry area, particularly on major road thoroughfares into Newry City or close to the border. He paid tribute to the Army bomb disposal team and the efforts of the local PSNI in making the potentially lethal device of approx 500lbs safe. However, he said he remained concerned at "the capability and intent of those Republicans involved in these attacks", and he feared it would be "only a matter of time" before they would claim the lives of security force personnel.
In such circumstances, Mr Kennedy said it was absolutely vital that the public co-operate fully with the PSNI to provide them with the necessary information to apprehend, charge and convict those responsible.