POLICE IN NORTHERN Ireland have warned that an attack by dissident republicans to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising is “highly possible”.
Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin told a press conference the PSNI is “deeply concerned” as the threat level remains “severe”.
He was speaking after a prison officer was injured when a car bomb exploded in east Belfast this morning. The 52-year-old man is in a stable condition in hospital.
Martin told BBC News: “We are deeply concerned by the current threat picture. In recent weeks we have been increasing patrols across Northern Ireland and we intend to do that in the coming weeks – up to and through Easter.”
He noted that this year Easter has “much greater and increased significance” due to the 1916 centenary.
That’s a very important date, particularly for people from the nationalist and republican community.
“There are dozens and dozens of events being organised across Northern Ireland. We are working with the event organisers to ensure that they pass off peacefully.
“We will be culturally sensitive in our policing of the Easter ’16 events.
However, there are people within dissident republican groupings who want to mark the Easter 2016 100th anniversary in an entirely more sinister way. Who want to kill police officers, prison officers or soldiers.
Martin called for support from the community, saying: “It is not inevitable that anyone needs to lose their life.”