Six families were forced to leave their homes overnight following a security alert on a busy border road in Co Armagh.
They were evacuated by police after the device was found by a resident in a hedge on Castleblayney Road in Keady yesterday. A five mile stretch of the road was closed to the junction with Rafferty’s Corner.
The evacuated residents, who included young couples with children and an elderly lady who lives alone, spent last night at the homes of family and friends. A police spokesman could not confirm whether the device was viable last night, as police were still dealing with the alert.
It is understood a call, warning a device had been left on the border, was made to a bar in Keady on Monday night but no recognised paramilitary codeword was used.
SDLP mayor of Armagh Thomas O’Hanlon condemned those responsible for abandoning the device, placed in a beer keg with wires attached to it.
Mr O’Hanlon said: “This is a complete and utter disgrace. All they have done is cause complete disruption to people living in the area.
“It’s an extremely busy road which carries traffic to the M1 motorway between Belfast and Dublin, so this has caused untold disruption to a great many people.
“About three or four businesses, including filling stations which rely a lot on custom from cross border traffic, are also on the road, and they are sick, sore and tired of this sort of disruption. They are decent, hard-working folk who provide a lot of employment in this area.”
The alert in Keady followed the discovery of a 300lb bomb which was left outside a police station in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, last Friday. Over 300 people had to leave their homes while the device, thought to have been left by dissident republicans, was made safe.