Belfast Telegraph

Police criticised over handling of Newry bomb alert

By Connla Young

Police have been criticised over the handling of a security alert outside Newry after hundreds of motorists drove past a suspect device.

The alert was raised after a van was abandoned at an underpass at Cloughogue, near the Belfast to Dublin motorway.

The Belfast to Dublin rail line was also closed, with passengers having to be transferred by bus between Newry and Dundalk.

The security alert began shortly before 11pm on Thursday after two bomb warnings were made to Daisy Hill Hospital and a charity organisation.

Police say that the road was cordoned off during the alert. However, it is understood that there were no police officers present at some cordon points.

Police say motorists removed ‘road closed’ signs and continued to drive past the suspicious vehicle despite warnings.

Last night local sources claimed many of the ‘road closed’ and cone signs carried no police markings.

Newry DPP member and Sinn Fein councillor Brendan Curran said he was concerned by the PSNI response to the incident.

He said: “The police should not avoid situations where they feel lives are in danger. This is the second time this has arisen. We had the same situation at Newry Courthouse last year when the area wasn’t properly cleared.

“The police have a responsibility and this is something I will be raising with the DPP.”

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