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PM makes hospital visit to shot detective Caldwell

2023-06-04 02:11:11 source:The Washington Post author:Press center4 click:547order

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made a hospital visit to a senior Northern Ireland detective who was critically injured in a gun attack in February.

Det Ch Insp John Caldwell was off duty when he was shot several times by two masked men in Omagh, County Tyrone.

He suffered life-changing injuries in the attack, which happened in front of his young son and has been blamed on dissident republicans.

Mr Sunak visited him and met his family on Wednesday, Downing Street confirmed.

The meeting came after the prime minister held talks with US President Joe Biden in Belfast a few hours earlier.

President Biden had a short stay in Northern Ireland as part of a four-day visit to the island of Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

The 1998 peace deal largely ended the decades of violent conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland, which represents rank and file officers, said Mr Sunak's visit to the detective was "deeply appreciated".

"It showed support for John as he progresses with his recovery following the cowardly attempt on his life in Omagh," said federation chair Liam Kelly.

Mr Caldwell had been attacked by gunmen after coaching a youth football team on 22 February.

Police believe the dissident republican group the New IRA was behind the attack.

In the wake of the shooting MI5 said the terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland had increased.

One of Northern Ireland's best-known detectives, John Caldwell has led high-profile inquiries into murders, organised crime and dissident republicans.

Twelve years after he investigated the 2011 murder of his PSNI colleague Ronan Kerr by dissident republicans, he became a target.

Read more: Who is the detective shot in Omagh attack?

During his speech in Belfast, Mr Biden condemned the attack on the detective.

He praised the "tremendous progress" made in Northern Ireland since the peace deal and said: "Northern Ireland will not go back [to violence]."

On Wednesday Mr Sunak also met six-year-old Dáithí Mac Gabhann to present him with an award for his part in the campaign to reform organ donation law in Northern Ireland.

Belfast boy Dáithí has been on a waiting list for a heart transplant for about five years.

He and his family led the push for major change in the transplant law and the reform is due to come into effect in June.

Known as Dáithí's Law, it will mean most adults will be considered potential organ donors unless they specifically state otherwise.

The Points of Light award presented by the prime minister recognises people who are contributing to their community.

author:Press center4
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