Defiant Newry traders say ‘business as usual’ after bomb
March 2, 2010
By Brónagh Murphy
Newry traders have collectively published a statement announcing it is ‘business as usual’ following last Monday’s car bomb at the city’s courthouse.
In a letter to local media outlets, business stakeholders and community agencies have vowed not to let the attack disrupt everyday life in the city.
“Newry has always lived up to Dean Swift’s definition of ‘a proud people’ and that pride only intensifies in the face of adversity,” the letter read.
“We stand alongside our political representatives by saying that Newry is open for business and we will not allow this type of event to disrupt everyday life in our city.
“In less than 24 hours after the blatant attack on our community all commuter routes into the city had reopened and traffic flow returned to normal.
“We want to send a very clear message to those that live, visit, shop or work in our city. We are open with trading levels back to normal. We are ready to welcome all those who wish to join us in making business, enterprise, community and economic renaissance our lasting legacy.”
The 250lb car bomb exploded at the courthouse gates shortly after 10.30pm on Monday February 22nd while police were still evacuating the area.
Police claim they were given just 17 minutes to clear the area and said it was a ‘miracle’ that no one was killed or injured.
The explosion was heard up to ten miles away and damaged nearby buildings. The gates of the courthouse were blown off and a security hut was demolished by the blast.
Extensive damage was caused to the nearby Downshire Road Presbyterian Church, which suffered smashed windows and structural damage. It emerged that a badminton team had just left the premises adjacent to the church minutes before the bomb went off.
Traffic was severely disrupted on Tuesday as a wide area around the bomb scene was cordoned off for police to carry out their investigation.
As yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack but dissident republicans are being blamed.
Link to burnt-out car
Police are investigating a link between the attack and a car that was abandoned and set on fire in Dromintee a short time later.
The vehicle was discovered on fire close to Forest Park in the village and fire crews were called to extinguish the blaze. On Tuesday evening the car was removed and police are keen to establish its whereabouts at present.
They have asked anyone with information to contact them.