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Newry retailers pay the price of courthouse car bomb

By Emily Moulton and Adrian Rutherford

Retailers in Newry were yesterday counting the cost of the dissident republican car bomb which brought the city to a standstill.

As Northern Ireland remained on high alert, with separate security scares bringing chaos to the morning rush-hour in two towns, shopper numbers were still down in the normally busy border city.

Elsewhere security alerts in Dungannon and Lurgan caused widespread disruption and led to a school and courthouse being closed.

While traffic flowed freely through most of Newry, the reopening of all but one of the roads failed to lift shopper numbers.

Martin Hughes from the Sugar Island Friar Tuck’s restaurant, which was forced to close on Tuesday, said trade was still down.

“We opened yesterday evening but it was very quiet and we opened today and it has been the same,” he said.

“There were reports on the radio that Newry could be closed for two days, so I guess a lot of people thought to stay away.

“The car bomb has definitely had an effect on our trade.

“Hopefully things will pick up in the week. Newry looks like a ghost town at the minute.”

Across the way on Trevor Hill, business at The Bank bar and restaurant had picked up.

Manager Brid Noade said there had been no disruption in the city yesterday and as a result their lunchtime trade returned to normal.

Meanwhile, Windsor Hill Primary School was closed for a second day to allow an inspection to be carried out.

No damage was caused by the blast and acting principal Peter Morrow said he hoped to reopen the school today.

“We will just be glad to all the pupils back safe and well,” he said.

“And we are looking forward to getting back tomorrow as well.”

In Dungannon, over 600 pupils at St Patrick’s Primary School were sent home yesterday after a |suspicious object was found outside the courthouse at Killyman Road.

Homes were evacuated and sittings at the courthouse were moved to Craigavon and Omagh while the object was examined by Army Technical Officers.

Police later declared it a false alarm.

Meanwhile, a second security alert in Lurgan was described by police as an “elaborate hoax”.

A suspicious object was discovered in the Lake Street area around 6.45am yesterday.

Lake Street was closed at the railway crossing and North Street was also shut while investigations were carried out.

Downpatrick courthouse was also evacuated yesterday because of a security alert.

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