The attempted murder of a police officer in front of his son near Omagh last night represents a “new low”, the Tánaiste has warned.
Off-duty PSNI Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell is recovering in hospital this morning after he was shot multiple times at a sports complex.
His condition is described as critical but stable.
It is understood two masked gunmen attacked the officer as he coached an underage football team.
His son was among the children who witnessed the attack.
‘The fact the attempted murder happened in front of his son represents a new low.’
The Tánaiste has condemned the “absolutely depraved and shocking” attack on DCI John Caldwell on Omagh. pic.twitter.com/Q0sDRSvaK2
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) February 23, 2023
Speaking outside Government Buildings this morning, the Tánaiste Micheál Martin said the attack “represents a new low.’
“The attack was depraved and shocking and I would call on anybody who has any information in respect of the criminals who carried out this attack to give that information to the police,” he said.
“There have been a number of attempted attacks now on police over the last number of months and last evening it reached an appalling level in terms of this gun attack at a sports centre where there were many, many young people enjoying the daily routine of sport.
“For them to witness such a horrific act is, in itself, very traumatic and also that the attempted murder happened in front of his son, I think, represents a new low in such criminal activity.”
Minister Martin offered his “support and solidary” to DCI Caldwell’s PSNI colleagues – labelling the incident “an attack on policing in general on this island”.
“The PSNI and Gardaí do everything they can to keep people safe and it is absolutely depraved in this day and age that people can carry out such dastardly acts of criminality and violence on members of the PSNI,” he said.
Gardaí have intensified their patrols along the border after the attack and are now cooperating with the PSNI in their investigation.
Minister Martin said the PSNI have indicated that they believe “so-called republicans” were behind the attack.
"There can be no toleration for acts of this kind and I know right across this island will be absolutely appalled at the nature of the attack on this man who did a lot and continues to do a lot of for his community.
"There can be no tolerance for this at all and I know An Garda Síochána will work with the PSNI to do everything possible to make sure the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice."
He said it is “very concerning that we still have people in our midst who are prepared to carry out acts of this kind”.