Twelfth 'viable' device reports 'fake news,' says PSNI Chief Constable Byrne
Object confirmed as hoax, says top cop
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.
As I told media at a press conference on Saturday, 13th July, the information I had at the time was that this was a hoax device and that has since been confirmed. There was no media blackout and, in no way, was there any attempt to censor this information.— Simon Byrne (@ChiefConPSNI) July 20, 2019
Disgusted to hear, from Wesley McCreedy PDM, that a viable explosive device was left in the grounds of Invest NI site this morning, blocking the feeder parade by Whiterock lodge. This required a controlled explosion by Army Technical Officers and exploded with a fire ball. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/NFzqVpzA2p— Brian Kingston (@BrianKingston) July 12, 2019
2/2 The lodge was able to continue but No 9 District was delayed departing from West Belfast Orange Hall as a result. This dangerous and reckless attempt to attack & disrupt a 12th July parade will only strengthen our determination to maintain our traditions #ThisWeWillMaintain— Brian Kingston (@BrianKingston) July 12, 2019
Belfast Telegraph Digital