Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

‘Viable device’ made safe by Army experts

Army bomb experts have defused a suspect device following a security alert in Co Antrim.

The Drones Road near Armoy was closed yesterday morning after a member of the public found the device at around 9.30am.

Army Technical Officers were called to the scene and recovered what was described last night by police as a “small viable device”.

The discovery follows another security alert on the outskirts of nearby Ballycastle on Monday.

Police received reports that a suspect package had been left in a layby at the junction of Magheramore Road and Moyarget Road outside the town.

The area was sealed off from about 3pm. Police later said that a “viable device” was discovered and made safe.

A police spokeswoman said they could not comment on who was responsible for either of the devices.

Independent councillor Seamus Blaney said that Monday’s alert had caused traffic problems in the town.

“It held up the traffic and was very hard to get in and out of the town,” he said.

“Anyone in their right mind would condemn such an act. We could do without it.”

Sinn Fein councillor Cathal Newcombe said there was “no place” for such actions in society.

“It’s just another phase of our very troubled times,” he said.

“It hasn’t left us alone and keeps sneaking up on us. It is a dastardly act and there is no great pride in doing it.” Party colleague Cara McShane said she believed dissident republicans may have been responsible.

“The device was found in a very peaceful and quiet area and no-one understands why it was left there. There are a small number of so-called dissident republicans in Ballycastle but they are nothing more than criminals,” she said.

“There is a great deal of fear about attacks on Orange halls and GAA clubs in north Antrim and this makes matters worse.”

Meanwhile, a security alert on Belfast’s Ormeau Bridge was yesterday declared a hoax.

Army Technical Officers were deployed but nothing was found. The alert was declared a hoax and the bridge reopened at 3.45pm, just ahead of rush hour.

Glyn Roberts, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, said the alert created serious disruption for traders.

“It resulted in considerable inconvenience for local residents, a loss of trade for many independent traders on the Ormeau Road and the temporary closure of Dunnes Stores on the embankment,” he said.

“The people behind this hoax need to answer this question: ‘What did they think this stunt would achieve other than mindless disruption and the loss of trade for local small businesses?’”

And another security alert in east Belfast on Monday afternoon was declared a hoax. Uniondale Street in the Ballyhackamore area was sealed off to traffic for a short time from 12.20pm as Army technical teams examined a suspect object.

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