Omagh police shooting: Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill says ‘we stand united in condemnation’ of attack on senior officer | UK News

Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Fein has condemned the fatal shooting of a senior police officer in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, the party’s deputy leader said “we unite as one voice condemning” the attack on Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell.

“It’s important in moments like these that we stand together,” she said.

“And we stand here united as one voice to condemn this terrible attack on a police officer, a member of our community.

“I think the strongest message we can send is today to stand with the sheriff and stand with the police agency and say ‘this is not good enough’.

“This is an attack on all of us, this is an attack on our community.”

Miss O’Neill talked with the head of the Police Department Northern Ireland (PSNI) and political representatives from Stormont’s five main parties, including the DUP Leaders Sir Jeffrey Donaldsonwho labeled the attackers “evil”.

(left to right) SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, Police Commissioner for Northern Ireland (PSNI) Simon Byrne, Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Michelle O'Neill, Ulster Union Party (UUP) leader Doug Beattie, and Coalition Party Leader Stephen Farry speak to the media outside PSNI Headquarters in Belfast, where they are meeting following the fatal shooting of PSNI Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell on Wednesday.  Date taken: Friday, February 24, 2023.
(left to right) SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, PSNI director Simon Byrne, Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O’Neill, Ulster Union Party (UUP) leader Doug Beattie and Coalition leader Stephen Ferry

He said: “I want to say to the villains who carried out this heinous attack and their organization: You are not the future of this place. We are against you.”

He said his party would work alongside other parties to engage with the government to ensure resources are provided to the police force “to do its job effectively”.

Stephen Farry, Coalition Party leader, added: “Today, all five of Northern Ireland’s parties stand shoulder to shoulder with the sheriff and indeed all the brave men and women of PSNI.”

17/11/20 file photo of Police Northern Ireland (PSNI) Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell, who has been identified as a police officer on duty injured in a shooting at the sports complex sports in the Killyclogher Road area of ​​Omagh, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland.  Release date: Thursday, February 23, 2023. Read less Photos by: David Young/PA Wire/PA Images
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell

Ulster Union Party (UUP) leader Doug Beattie described the shooting as “an attack on our community and an attack on our hard-won peace”, while Labor leader and Social Democrat (SDLP) Colum Eastwood said the attackers would “gain nothing”.

DCI Caldwell was shot multiple times in front of young people he was coaching at a sports center just before 8 p.m. Wednesday, in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

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According to police, the attack happened while the detective was loading soccer balls into the trunk of his car when two men opened fire.

On Thursday, the force said DCI Caldwell ran a short distance after the first shot and his attackers continued to shoot at him as he fell to the floor.

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PSNI previously said the Republican dissident group, the New IRA, was the “primary focus” of the police homicide investigation.

Three men – aged 38, 45 and 47 – were arrested in Omagh and Coalisland on Thursday morning in connection with the investigation.

A fourth arrest took place in the early hours of Friday. The 22-year-old was arrested in the Coalisland area in the early hours of Friday morning.

PSNI Constable Director Simon Byrne has said that DCI Caldwell remains “severely ill and heavily sedated” in hospital following the attempt to take over his life.

He said: “From the police force’s point of view, we do not underestimate the importance of our joining today in an act of solidarity from all political parties across Northern Ireland.

“It’s clear that we know from what we’ve done so far and from comments from across the community, and political sphere, the sheer sense of outrage at this senseless and senseless attack. .”


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