Northern Ireland school alerts: Further hoax bomb calls made to four schools
Four Northern Ireland schools have again been subjected to a series of malicious communications.
Police said there is nothing to suggest the incidents are terror related.
On Friday morning the following schools were evacuated:
- Kilmaine Primary School and Nursery Unit
- Omagh County Primary, Campsie
- Armstrong Primary, Armagh
- SureStart, Doury Road, Ballymena
Principal of Kilmaine Primary School, Billy Campbell, said a threat of an explosive in the building was made at around 11am while he was interviewing new teachers for the school.
"I could begin to wonder what sort of minds they have to do such a thing to wee ones."
Kilmaine Primary School has closed for the day.
Chief Superintendent Garry Eaton said: “PSNI are investigating a further series of malicious communications to schools across Northern Ireland today. At this stage there is no information to suggest the incidents are terrorist-related, however enquiries continue to establish the facts. We continue to investigate who is responsible and whether these incidents are linked to similar calls made to seven schools earlier this week.
"Anyone with information should contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Ulster Unionist North Down MLA Alan Chambers has four grand-children at Kilmaine. They were among 600 pupils told to leave lunch boxes and coats behind in an "urgent evacuation" at the school.
"Whatever or whoever is behind this needs to stop," he said.
He added: "I witnessed the professional manner in which the teachers and staff conducted themselves as they implemented the evacuation plan and moved 600 pupils away from the school to a place of safety.
“Fortunately the pupils seemed to be taking events very much in their stride and did not seem to be distressed in any way.
“It was clear that the parents and grandparents who arrived to collect their children were upset at what had happened.
“I simply cannot conceive of the mentality of anyone who would target young children in his manner. The number of alerts that have been received this week indicate a degree of sophistication and organisation. It is imperative that the Police act swiftly to catch whoever is responsible for this disruption and ensure that they are severely punished by the courts.”
'MINDLESS AND RECKLESS ACT'
DUP Portadown councillor Darryn Causby branded the Armstrong alert "disgraceful".
"A totally mindless and reckless act by people with little to offer," he said.
Omagh town councillor Chris Smyth described the alert at Campsie as "shameful".
"Hoped this generation would be free from fear of bomb and bullet."
There have been reports of numerous schools across the UK and Ireland affected.
Kilmaine Primary School Bangor evacuated after security alert. Kids not returning @BelTel— Chris McCullough (@journo_chris) May 27, 2016
@uuponline disgusted at hoax bomb call to Armstrong Memorial PS, Armagh this morning. Despicable behaviour. Thoughts with pupils & staff— Danny Kennedy (@DKennedy_UUP) May 27, 2016
All children have been evacuated to Crozier Hall, St Mark's Church following bomb alert. Parents may collect children from now if they wish.— The Armstrong PS (@thearmstrongps) May 27, 2016
Bomb scare at campsie primary. Frightening kids is shameful. Hoped this generation would be free from fear of bomb and bullet— Chris Smyth (@ChrisSmyth237) May 27, 2016
Pupils at Kilmaine PS told to leave coats and lunch boxes behind in urgent evacuation. Whatever or whoever is behind this needs to stop.— Alan Chambers MLA (@alcham49) May 27, 2016
We are investigating a further series of malicious calls to schools in NI. Anyone with info should contact us on 101#PSNI #KeepingPeopleSafe— PSNI (@PoliceServiceNI) May 27, 2016
Alliance North Down MLA Stephen Farry added: "Whoever is behind these threats needs to stop immediately.
"It is beyond any reason or logic for people to send such threats, particularly to primary schools where so many young people will be affected and have their education significantly disrupted.
"Whatever goal those behind the threats are looking to achieve will not be helped by these malicious actions. My thoughts are with all those affected and I wish to commend staff at the schools, who have acted with bravery to ensure the safety of the pupils.
"I urge anyone with information about these incidents to contact police immediately."
SDLP Justice Spokesperson Alex Attwood MLA also condemned those responsible.
Mr Attwood said: "To create fear and threat to our young children, in our primary schools, is as low as you can get. The support of all goes to the children, teachers and school staff, parents and carers.
"While the schools may be chosen at random, there is nothing random in the malice of the person or persons responsible.
"I hope that quickly through intelligence or information from the community, the police succeed in identifying the source of these actions."
The alerts come after seven schools across Northern Ireland were evacuated over a series of malicious communications earlier this week.
At least 21 schools across UK are said to have received anonymous phone calls warning of a bomb.
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