Van on Newry motorway contained 500lb bomb
A van abandoned under the Belfast to Dublin motorway contained a 500lb bomb , police confirmed today.
Last night a number of controlled explosions were carried out on the vehicle left at an underpass at Cloughogue.
It is understood a wheelie bin had been placed in the rear of the van.
A spokeswoman for the PSNI said the motorway was re-opened at about 2am this morning.
“Police can confirm that a viable device was on board that vehicle,” the spokeswoman said.
The PSNI has been criticised over its handling of the security alert after hundreds of motorists drove past the bomb.
The alert was raised on Thursday night after warnings were made to a hospital and a charity.
Police said the road was cordoned off during the alert. However, it is understood no officers were present at some cordons.
Police added motorists removed ‘road closed’ signs and continued to drive past the suspicious vehicle despite warnings.
Newry DPP member and Sinn Fein councillor Brendan Curran, concerned by the PSNI response, said: “The police should not avoid situations where they feel lives are in danger. This is the second time this has arisen. We had the same situation at Newry Courthouse last year when the area wasn’t properly cleared.”
The Belfast to Dublin rail line was also closed, with passengers having to be transferred by bus between Newry and Dundalk.