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DUP MP Gregory Campbell says bomb attacks in Northern Ireland have dropped since Brexit vote

The number of bomb attacks in Northern Ireland has dropped since the UK voted to leave the European Union, a DUP MP has said.

Gregory Campbell was speaking after a dissident republican bomb attack on the Irish border on Monday, against those he said had "blamed" Brexit and the ongoing collapse of devolved government for the attack.

Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin described the incident in Co Fermanagh as a "deliberate attempt" to lure police and troops into the area to murder them.

No one was injured in the blast at Wattle Bridge, close to Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh.

DCC Martin went on to urge political progress.

"We have had two-and-a-half years of no devolved institutions, we have unresolved issues around legacy and we saw an aspect of that play out in parading in Derry/Londonderry last weekend," he said.

"We have the uncertainty around EU exit, we have had five attempted attacks to murder police officers this year and the find of another mortar type in the Castlewellan area.

"I think when you add all that up, I do believe there is a time of reflection and a time to question what type of society we want to live here."

He added: "We need as a society, led by our politicians, to absolutely set out not just our condemnation to these people but to work collectively together as a society right across the piste, police playing their part but police on their own not being sufficient to actually say 'you do not represent the type of society we want to live in'."

Mr Campbell said that neither Brexit nor the ongoing collapse of devolved government in Northern Ireland should be "blamed" for dissident republican violence.

He quoted Police Service of Northern Ireland statistics which show a drop in the number of bombing incidents in the last three years since the Brexit referendum in 2016 and the collapse of devolved government in 2017.

Some 52 bombing incidents were recorded in the 2015/16 financial year, which dropped to 29 in 2016/17 and 18 in 2017/18.

Incidents this year so far include an attempt to blow up Derry court house in January, a booby trap bomb in Craigavon last month and the targeting of police and army personnel in Co Fermanagh on Monday.

"Those blaming Brexit and a lack of devolution for the bomb in Fermanagh are in serious danger of making excuses for very twisted and warped individuals," Mr Campbell said.

"The bombers are motivated by targeting people who they see as representing Her Majesty's Government. As DCC Martin said, they wake up in the morning with murder on their mind.

"Police statistics show that the number of bombing incidents have decreased not increased since the EU referendum/demise of devolution.

"Those who blame Brexit or Stormont are in danger of misleading the next generation.

"There is no excuse for bombings and there never was. Soldiers, prison officers, police officers and border force officers were never legitimate targets."

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