Belfast Telegraph

Twelfth 'viable' device reports 'fake news,' says PSNI Chief Constable Byrne

Object confirmed as hoax, says top cop

Simon Byrne
Simon Byrne
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

The PSNI Chief Constable has dismissed as "fake news" reports of a "viable" device disrupting a Twelfth parade.

Simon Byrne was referring to a suspicious object and subsequent security alert in west Belfast.

The suspicious object was found on the Springfield Road shortly before 9am on the morning of the Twelfth which caused delay to a feeder parade from the Whiterock Orange Lodge.

DUP councillor and former Belfast Lord Mayor Brian Kingston said he had heard from a fellow Orangeman it was a "viable device" and a controlled explosion resulted in a "fire ball".

Orange Order grand secretary Mervyn Gibson also described the device as "viable" in an interview on the BBC Sunday Politics.

However, the morning after the Twelfth, in a news conference, Simon Byrne said the object was a hoax.

"That has since been confirmed," he said on Twitter on Saturday.

"There was no media blackout and, in no way, was there any attempt to censor this information."

DUP Belfast councillor Dale Pankhurst said the response was inadequate.

"Not a good start with this, Simon. Dismissing a serious incident (terrorists targeting an Orange parade) with 'fake news' isn’t good enough," he said.

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