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File image of PSNI officer on police service bike. Alamy Stock Photo
Security Alert

People of Omagh being 'retraumatised' by 'campaign to disrupt the peace', says local MLA

A suspicious object was found in the area yesterday, forcing homes to be evacuated.

LAST UPDATE | 7 May 2023

AN MLA FOR West Tyrone has said the people of Omagh are being retraumatised following the discovery of a suspicious object in the area.

Police in Northern Ireland appealed for witnesses to come forward today after several homes had to be evacuated.

The PSNI said last night that a man was hijacked by three masked men at gunpoint in the Fireagh Road area, off the Dromore Road in Omagh.

The men placed a suspicious object in the vehicle, a silver-coloured Volkswagen Golf, and forced the man to travel to the Derry Road area and abandon the car outside Omagh Police Station.

SDLP West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan said this evening that those involved in “a campaign to disrupt and dismantle peace in Omagh are retraumatising the people of a town that has already suffered far too much loss”.

Some 29 people lost their lives in Omagh in 1998 in a bombing.

McCrossan said that people would not give in to those intent on causing mayhem.

“This was a sinister and chilling attack on someone in our community who must have been so afraid for themselves and their family last night,” he said. “My thoughts are with them today, I can’t imagine how they must be feeling after such a terrifying ordeal.”

“Those responsible have demonstrated that they don’t care about the people of Omagh and they’re willing to put the lives of our neighbours at risk to disrupt and dismantle our peace.

“The message our town has to send them is that we won’t let them win. This is a place that has suffered too much loss and the people who live here will not give in to this kind of attack.

“I am deeply concerned about the concerted and sinister campaign being waged by people who appear to be hell bent on returning this community to the murder and mayhem of the past. They have been rejected by the people of Omagh and the people of Ireland who want to live in peace with their neighbours. There’s no future in this and those responsible need to give up.”

A public safety operation was immediately implemented following the discovery of the object, with a number of people evacuated from their homes and cordons established.

Ammunition technical officers examined the object and it has since been removed from the scene and will be subject to further examination.

PSNI inspector Will Brown said: “The misguided and senseless actions of those responsible have caused disruption in the local community.

“Our thoughts are with the driver, who was, understandably, badly shaken by the ordeal.”

Investigations into the incident are continuing.

Inspector Brown added: “Thank you to all those who were impacted and to the wider public for your patience and cooperation. We are also grateful for the understanding of those impacted by the ongoing police activity in the Fireagh Road area.

“We are particularly keen to speak to anyone who was in the vicinity of the church on the Fireagh Road, or travelling between the Fieragh Road and Omagh Police Station between 9pm and 10pm last night.

“If you saw anything suspicious, or you have dash cam which may assist with our investigation, please get in touch by calling 101, quoting serial 2015 of 6/5/23.

“You can also make a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org/.”

“Disrupting people’s lives at anytime and particularly at this time of night is totally unacceptable. The people of Omagh have been through enough,” McCrossan tweeted. 

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