Bafflement turns to anger as area Tullycarnet lockdown affects elderly
It was an early morning alert which transformed a quiet residential area in an instant. Yesterday, on a cold November morning, residents in the Tullycarnet area of east Belfast, awoke to flashing police lights outside their window, police tape and an officer urging them to evacuate their home.
Neighbours were initially baffled but those feelings gave way to anger as residents realised a more sinister element was behind the day-long disruption.
For many, news of a murder attempt on a former police officer raised memories of a similar attack less than a mile away four years ago, when a police officer's partner was injured as a bomb exploded under her car.
There was also anger over the serious disruption residents faced as they were forced out of their homes, a distressing experience for many.
One male pensioner told the Belfast Telegraph the knock-on effect of the attacks was harder for the elderly to adapt to.
"I got a knock on the door at 8.30am to say I had to leave the house. It's fine because I can drive, but there are other elderly people around here in their late 80s," he said.
"But the police have to do their job and we feel safe that they know what they are doing and of course they can only let us back in when it's safe for us, it's just disappointing to see."
Concerned residents told of how some elderly housebound neighbours feared their morning visits by doctors and nurses could have been hindered by the closed roads.
"Do these people have nothing else to be doing than causing chaos for ordinary people who just want to get on with their lives?" said a female resident.
An older resident had left her house early to attend a hospital appointment and on her return was shocked to be informed by police that she was not allowed back to her home.
Further disruption was caused as workmen carrying out scaffolding work on a property also faced delays due to the lengthy alert.
Arrangements had been made for evacuated residents to go to the Tullycarnet Community and Resource Centre and the Hanwood centre located a safe distance away but it is not thought that anyone attended.
Close-by residents watching from the safety of their homes – as police stood guard on road entrances while a helicopter roamed the sky – said there was "no need" for this attack.
A male resident said: "I'm really shocked because this is a quiet residential area, there is never any trouble, not around here.
"But while I'm shocked to see this, sadly as of late, we seem to be getting used to seeing this going on."