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Dissident republican ‘recruitment’ stickers appear five weeks after DCI Caldwell murder bid

The stickers depict masked men and encourage people to "join now" and "play your part"

The stickers which have appeared in Omagh

Andrew MaddenBelfast Telegraph

Stickers encouraging people to join a dissident republican group have appeared in Omagh - five weeks after the attempted murder of Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell.

The stickers, which have been spotted in several areas, including on council property, depict masked men and encourage people to "join now" and "play your part".

An email address is also provided in the name of "Irish Republican Resistance".

Mr Caldwell was shot multiple times outside an Omagh sports complex after taking a children's football training session on February 22.

He has been transferred out of intensive care, but remains in a serious condition in hospital.

The attack was later admitted by the dissident republican group the New IRA.

Omagh Ulster Unionist councillor Matthew Bell criticised the stickers.

“I have been made aware of stickers encouraging people to join a paramilitary group appearing across Omagh. These stickers have been seen on council property, namely the Omagh leisure centre," he said.

"Recently Omagh has experienced the shock of the attempted murder of Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell on February 22. Following the attempted murder, a rally was held in Omagh to demonstrate our towns disgust with this crime.

"I wish to repeat the message which was clear at the rally. There is no going back. Our community does not want to be dragged back in time to the Troubles."

Mr Bell said that, as someone who was born after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, he has "never experienced the Troubles and the hardship Northern Ireland suffered through those years".

"I never want my generation to experience that. We all have a role to play in the peace process and must move forward with respect for one another," he added.

“I have reported the stickers to council officials and requested that all council-owned property across Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is checked for these stickers and removed.

"I also have reported them to the PSNI to be investigated. I would at this stage like to pay tribute to the PSNI for all their work to keep our community safe and thank them for their swift action following the recent shooting."

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said: "The council has been notified that stickers have been posted at one of its sites. These are in the process of being removed and other sites inspected.”

The PSNI said it is aware of the stickers and enquiries are ongoing. A spokesperson urged anyone with any information to contact them on 101.

The news comes after the terror threat level in Northern Ireland was raised from substantial to severe, meaning an attack is "highly likely".

Police Federation chair Liam Kelly said no one should be surprised that the threat level has increased, which happened a year after it was downgraded.

“Following the cowardly attempted murder of DCI John Caldwell in Omagh, and other attacks on officers, our colleagues have stepped up their personal security and exercise increased vigilance,” said Mr Kelly.

"Frankly, no one should be surprised by this latest MI5 intelligence assessment which acknowledges the extent of the challenge.

“This escalation in the threat level is justified. One might reasonably ask why it was downgraded to ‘substantial’ in the first place when it was clear dissident republican groups were still actively wedded to causing murder and destruction."

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