Page last updated at 10:06 GMT, Sunday, 10 January 2010

Bomb policeman remains critically ill

Constable Heffron captained the PSNI GAA team
Constable Heffron captained the PSNI GAA team

A police officer injured in a dissident republican bomb attack in County Antrim remains critically ill in hospital.

Constable Peadar Heffron was injured when a bomb exploded under his car on the Milltown Road in Randalstown at about 0630 GMT on Friday.

The 33-year-old is an Irish language specialist for the PSNI and captain of the PSNI GAA team.

Mr Heffron has been in the police for 10 years and recently married. He is related to a senior Sinn Fein member.

He had been on his way to work at Woodbourne police station in west Belfast.

It is believed Constable Heffron had driven about a mile from his home when the bomb exploded and he was found breathing and conscious but bleeding heavily.

He underwent surgery at Antrim hospital and was then moved to the Royal Victoria hospital in Belfast.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott said every decent person would condemn the attack.

"Our colleague was brutally targeted this morning in a cowardly attack as he left his home to travel to work," he said.

"My appeal to everyone is that you continue to support us in building peace and to not let this incident detract us all from that goal."

'Cowardly'

Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers issued a joint statement condemning the attack.

First Minister Peter Robinson said is was a "cowardly evil act against a man committed to defending the free society we all enjoy".

"I have said in the past that those who perpetrate such attacks will not succeed in returning Northern Ireland to the dark days of the past. I remain steadfastly committed to upholding that promise," he added.

The deputy first minister, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, said: "These actions serve no purpose and will not further any cause," he said.

Northern Ireland Security Minister Paul Goggins described it as a "vile attack" which would "sicken people".

Dissident republicans have been responsible for a spate of bomb attacks across Northern Ireland in the last year.

In October, a dissident group planted a bomb under a policeman's car in east Belfast.

His partner suffered minor injuries in the attack.



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