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Almost two-thirds of people 'fearful of a return to sectarian violence in Ireland after Brexit'

There have been a number of security alerts in Derry in recent days.

Forensic investigators at the scene of the car bomb in Derry
Forensic investigators at the scene of the car bomb in Derry
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

JUST UNDER TWO-thirds of people are fearful of a return to sectarian violence in Ireland after Brexit, a new poll has found. 

Over 1,000 adults were asked by Amarách Research for Claire Byrne Live yesterday, and 65% of people said they were fearful, while 24% said they weren’t.

It comes after a number of security alerts in Derry city in recent days, with the most recent last night involving a van reported abandoned outside a girls’ secondary school.

A number of incidents yesterday followed the explosion of a car bomb from outside a courthouse on Bishop Street in the city on Saturday night.

With the British government and parliament still at a loss of how to proceed with Brexit, the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is still looming.

In that event, it would necessitate the return of some form of border between Ireland and Northern Ireland involving customs posts and checks.

The PSNI believes that the weekend’s car bomb was the work of a dissident republican group calling itself ‘the New IRA’.

PSNI assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton said the New IRA has recently mainly been linked to vigilante incidents and the bombing was “probably the most significant attack in recent years”.

“We haven’t seen a device of this nature function for quite a while. It’s a high-risk tactic,” he told BBC radio.

Hamilton added that the New IRA were “determined to drag people back to somewhere they don’t want to be”.

Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley told the House of Commons last night, however, that these attacks had “absolutely nothing” to do with Brexit.

She said: “Nobody should try and draw any connection between what happened on Saturday night and negotiations with our friends in Europe.

The attack that happened on Saturday night is the result of a threat level that has been in place before the Brexit vote, these are plots and activities that these people have been working on and trying to carry out for many, many years.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with Brexit or anything close to it,” she concluded.

It is now over 20 years since the landmark Good Friday Agreement brought a hard-won peace to Northern Ireland, after around 3,500 people had died over three decades of the Troubles.

With reporting from AFP

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