Archbishop Harper condemns attack

The Most Revd Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland has condemned the attack on a group of British soldiers and two civilians at the military base in Antrim, northwest of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The lethal attack on Massereene Barracks leaving two people dead and four injured is deeply distressing and deplorable. I send my heartfelt sympathy to those who have been bereaved or injured.

It has been clear for some time that there are forces of evil intent on destabilising our community and returning to days of confrontation such as we knew in the past but have been steadily working to move beyond. Across our community, efforts must be redoubled to create a respectful and inclusive society that ensures that there is no place in our midst for agents of terror. We remember those affected by this incident as we continue to pray for a sustained peace.

His statement may be found here.

The New York Times reports:

Politicians in Northern Ireland said the shooting had the earmarks of a bid by dissident republicans to destabilize the power-sharing government. It took office nearly two years ago after 30 years of violence that killed 3,700 people.

A dissident faction that calls itself the Real I.R.A. and that has rejected the government claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to a reporter in Belfast from the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune newspaper.. The police said the group, after carrying out a 1998 bombing in the Northern Ireland town of Omagh that killed 29 people, had undertaken a sporadic but mostly marginal campaign of attacks, mainly against the province’s police force. They described the group as a shadow of the main I.R.A., with few committed gunmen, a limited budget and a shortage of weapons.

The Right Revd Alan Abernethy, Bishop of Connor issued this statement:

‘The attack at Massereene Barracks last night was an evil act that cannot be justified. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved, the injured and all who are devastated by this awful moment. This tragic event is a reminder to us of how much we all still have to do to pursue peace. We are still a deeply divided society. Politicians, church people and communities have much to do together so that we are not deflected by evil and to ensure that our words and actions speak only of peace.’

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