Belfast Telegraph

Belfast school to reopen on Wednesday after discovery of improvised weapon

Police are linking the discovery to dissident republicans.

A North Belfast primary school where an improvised weapon was discovered will reopen on Wednesday (Liam McBurney/PA)
A North Belfast primary school where an improvised weapon was discovered will reopen on Wednesday (Liam McBurney/PA)

By Michael McHugh, PA

A north Belfast primary school where an improvised weapon was discovered will reopen on Wednesday.

Police are linking the device to dissident republicans.

They believe it was destined to be used to attack officers.

It was discovered by the principal of Holy Cross Boys Primary School on Monday, while he was helping the caretaker clear an issue with the sewerage system.

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The weapon was discovered in the playground (Liam McBurney/PA)

Headteacher Kevin McArevey said: “We apologise for the inconvenience that today’s closure may have caused but we are assured that the school has been made safe and secure for all pupils and staff to return.”

Children and staff were evacuated from the premises as police moved in to secure the area.

PSNI detectives recovered an improvised weapon with the potential to fire a high calibre round.

The school remained closed on Tuesday while the security operation continued.

The principal thanked parents for their continued support and said the school will be open as normal on Wednesday.

Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said the security operation had ended.

He added: “I would like to thank the local community for their patience and understanding since this began yesterday afternoon.

“This disruption was necessary in order to ensure there was no further risk to the children in the immediate area.”

The thwarted attack represents one in a number of actions undertaken by dissident republicans in Northern Ireland in recent months.

Sinn Fein representatives met with the PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne on Tuesday evening. They called on the force to do all in its power to bring those responsible to justice and warned of the possible threat to peace brought on by Brexit.

“We had a wide ranging exchange with the Chief Constable on a number of issues,” deputy leader Michelle O Neill said.

“We are now only 37 days away from the disaster which is Brexit.

“We discussed the operational challenges facing the PSNI in the context of the emergence of a hard border and border infrastructure and asked him about the extent of forward planning.

“We made it clear that no Brexit was good for our island but that any hardening of the border would be a setback for our hard won peace.”

PA

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