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Families evacuated amid spate of alerts on Twelfth

By Laura Abernethy

Published 13/07/2016

Police at the scene of a bomb alert in Carnlough
Police at the scene of a bomb alert in Carnlough

Families have been forced to evacuate their homes after a bomb was left outside a house in Co Antrim, while elsewhere Twelfth parades were disrupted in two separate alerts.

In Carnlough, a suspicious object was found in the Drumalla Park/Bay Road area of the coastal town yesterday morning.

Residents were told to leave their homes and roads in the immediate vicinity were closed while Army bomb experts examined the item and deemed it to be a viable device.

It is understood it had been left outside the house overnight.

The bomb was removed for forensic examination.

Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan condemned those who planted it. The East Antrim representative said: "The discovery of this suspect device on the outskirts of Carnlough has brought nothing but disruption to the local community.

"A number of people have been evacuated from their homes, causing considerable disruption and inconvenience. There is no room for these type of attacks in our society and they must end immediately."

SDLP councillor Margaret Anne McKillop said those behind the incident were "criminal thugs who have nothing to offer the community of Carnlough".

She added: "They have shown absolutely no regard for the lives or livelihoods of local people.

"This is the last thing people in this community need.

"I want to thank residents for their patience as they've been forced to endure significant disruption throughout the day. I would urge anyone with any information to bring it forward to the police as soon as possible."

Alliance councillor Gerardine Mulvenna said: "I absolutely condemn this type of activity. Whoever does this has absolutely no respect for the local residents.

"All they have done is create mayhem, fear and tension in a community that works really hard to create a positive environment. There is no excuse for it. It is a disgrace."

In Ballycastle, the Quay Road was closed following the discovery of a suspicious device, which was later declared a hoax by police, close to the playing fields that were being used for the annual Twelfth service.

Daryl Wilson, a UUP councillor for Ballymoney, was at the parade. He said sh ortly before it was due to return through the Co Antrim town, police informed them that a device had been found.

He said the return parade was not disrupted but it caused spectators to panic.

"There were a lot of people here and particularly young families. There had been a really positive atmosphere earlier in the day," he said. "There had been people from both sides of the community out watching the parade and there was a sense of mutual tolerance and respect.

"When police informed us that there was a suspect device, there was panic and it soured what was a very good day.

"It's very, very sad that a small mindless few can go out of their way to terrorise families who have come here to enjoy celebrating their history and culture."

Yesterday morning, a controlled explosion was carried out on a suspect device in Belfast's Ormeau Avenue close to the main Orange parade route.

It was discovered close to BBC Broadcasting House. It was reported that a metal tube was dropped on the road from a passing car, close to the Dublin Road junction.

Following Army bomb squad examinations, the device was declared a hoax.

Police are appealing to anyone with information about any of the incidents to contact the PSNI non-emergency number 101 or to ring the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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