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Saturday, 1 September, 2001, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
UVF members linked to bomb
Police noticed gas cylinders in the parked car
Police noticed gas cylinders in the parked car
A leading loyalist politician has said the paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force may have been involved in a bombing attempt in County Antrim this week.

David Ervine, a Progressive Unionist Party assembly member, said on Saturday that some UVF members may have played a part in the bomb discovered in Ballycastle.

The annual Auld Lammas Fair was taking place at the time.

The device did not go off, but police said if it had it could have caused carnage.

'Individual members'

Mr Ervine, told the BBC's Inside Politics programme that although he had been told by the paramilitary group they were not behind the attack, it was possible that some individual members were.

I can't stand over every single member that they have

David Ervine

He added: "It is my understanding, and a very clear understanding, vociferously told to me with some anger, that the UVF were not responsible.

"I can't, and I imagine they can't, stand over every single member that they have, and say absolutely no member was involved.

"They are saying clearly to me that they were not responsible, and I think that we are going to have to wait to see what way the chips fall on this one."

The SDLP said Mr Ervine's revelation was a worrying development.

The party's North Belfast assembly member, Alban Maginness, said it was "deeply disturbing".

The president of the Methodist Church in Ireland described the actions of those responsible for Tuesday's attempt to bomb Ballycastle as "evil".

The Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used in the past by the Ulster Defence Association and Loyalist Volunteer Force, said it left the bomb in the town.

David Ervine:
David Ervine: "Wait and see"

The Reverend Harold Good said he could not understand the mindset of those involved in leaving the bomb.

"To actually plan to put something there that could kill and maim countless people just beggars belief," he said.

The device was discovered in a white Ford Sierra car in Castle Street and consisted of a timing device, a detonator and two containers of flammable liquid.

The device was detected when an officer noticed gas cylinders and other components in a parked car.

Police described the bomb as "an act of madness".

It emerged that a telephone warning was received only after police were clearing thousands of people from the Castle Street area.

It was the second day of the Auld Lammas Fair in the town - one of Northern Ireland's most popular tourist draws.

PUP assembly member David Ervine:
"The UVF are saying clearly to me they were not involved"
See also:

16 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Pipe bomb attack on house
05 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Houses targeted in bomb attack
30 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Pipe bombs damage houses
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