Dissident weapon hidden in Belfast school sewer showed 'reckless disregard for life'
The principal of a north Belfast primary school where an improvised dissident republican weapon was found says those who planted it have shown a "reckless disregard for life".
Around 400 pupils and 60 staff from Holy Cross Boys' Primary School had to be evacuated from the building on Monday afternoon after the weapon was discovered in the school's sewer.
The school remained closed yesterday while police searched the area to ensure no other weapons were hidden nearby.
Speaking ahead of the school reopening as normal today, Holy Cross principal Kevin McArevey, who found the device while he was helping the school caretaker unblock the sewer, said: "Thank God that all is well, everyone is safe and that I found the device rather than a child. The pupils should also be commended for the way they evacuated the school, with the help of staff, within two minutes.
"We have been assured that the school has been made safe and secure for pupils and staff to return."
Mr McArevey added: "I would like those behind this to stand back and think about their actions and what could have been.
"They need to consider the reality of where they left this device.
"This is a primary school where children play and it shows a reckless disregard for life."
PSNI Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said the "improvised weapon" was "probably destined to be used in an attempt to kill or seriously injure police officers".
Ulster Unionist education spokesperson Rosemary Barton has described the storing of the weapon at the school as repulsive.
Mrs Barton said: "Schools should be a place of safety as well an educational experience for our young people, not a place where they are put in danger by terrorists.
"Of course in the past terrorists have never shown any responsibility towards anyone, including children; they have murdered and maimed young people from our society, just as they have to anyone who is in their way.
"It is absolutely repulsive that a school sewage system has been used to hide such a weapon of destruction. This sort of action has no place in our society."
The PSNI is appealing for anyone with any information that can assist them or anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area recently to contact police on 101 quoting reference 1169 September 23.