Belfast Telegraph

Security alert which saw Belfast primary school evacuated declared a hoax

Principal: 'It's a negative we don't want'

By Claire Williamson and Luke Barnes

A security alert which prompted the evacuation of a Belfast primary school has been declared a hoax.

St Paul's Primary School in Beechmount in west Belfast was evacuated on its first day back from the summer holidays.

The alert was sparked as police dealt with a suspect package in the Beechmount Crescent area.

Army bomb experts attended and have declared it a hoax.

Pupils from St Paul's Primary School were sent to the Mica Day Centre. St Paul's Parish Centre was also opened for any residents needing shelter.

The school's principal Sean McNamee described the alert as a "negative" which they didn't want.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "Within this area the parents and local community is hugely supportive of the school. This incident doesn't reflect upon them.

"It shapes the year and it's a negative we don't want"

Alliance Justice spokesperson Trevor Lunn said he was "appalled" after the disruption to the school.

The MLA said: "I cannot believe someone would stoop as low as to leave a hoax device so close to a primary school.

“The pupils should have been enjoying the first day of the new school year and instead they were evacuated, which no doubt was a traumatic experience for them.

“Although the suspicious package was a hoax device, the effect and disruption are the same as if it had been a viable device. I utterly condemn the actions of those responsible for this absolutely appalling incident.

“The people behind this must be found and taken off the streets immediately. I would urge anyone with information on this matter to contact police.”

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