Forty families evacuated after bomb is left outside station
FORTY homes in Tandragee’s Ballymore Park were evacuated on Monday, New Year’s Eve, when a box containing a pipe bomb was placed outside the town’s police station.
The residents had to stay out of their homes for five hours while Army Technical Officers dealt with the device, which was described as “viable” as police cordoned off a half-mile stretch of the Armagh Road. It was discovered at the gates of the station at around 10.30am, and residents - many of them elderly - returned home in the early afternoon.
One of the residents, Norman McConnell, said, “We thought this nonsense had ended, but it seems some people just can’t give up their old habits. It was so sad to see so many decent citizens having to leave their own homes. Most of them were accommodated by friends and relatives, and my wife and I went into town to do a spot of shopping and have a bite to eat. It’s pathetic.”
Craigavon council member Robert Smith, who lives close to the Armagh Road at Tandragee, said that the courage of the PSNI and the Army in dealing with the device was in contrast with “the cowards who left it there”. He added, “The security forces have shown they really care for the community, while the dissidents don’t care about anything only their own misguided views. It’s time for them to disappear and leave people to get on with their lives.”
A young woman who collected her mother from Ballymore Park - but did not want to be named - told the Portadown Times, “I don’t see what there is to gain by terrorising old people. My mother has lived in this town all here life - a town where there is no communal strife whatsoever - and she doesn’t deserve this.”
Local representative Robert Turner of Armagh City and District Council also condemned the incident. “It’s crazy,” he said. “These idiots are relics of the past and should just disappear. It beats me what they’re trying to prove. All they’ve proven is the courage of the local people and of the PSNI and Army.”
His fellow councillor Paul Berry stated, “ I believe this is the work of North Armagh Republicans and I would urge a firm security clampdown on such bloodthirsty thugs.”
Local MLA and DRD Minister Danny Kennedy also thanked the security forces. “Whoever these people are or whatever cause they profess to follow, cowardly attacks on police officers, police stations or local communities will not advance their cause one iota,” he added. “They have caused a lot of inconvenience to local residents, with disabled people and young and old alike being evacuated from their homes.”
Assembly member William Irwin commented, “Those behind this incident offer nothing only destruction and disruption, and hopefully the PSNI will be able to apprehend those responsible. It’s especially reprehensible on the eve of a New Year.”
Disruption in the centre of the town was minimal, the only visible sign being a taped cordon across the Armagh Road at the roundabout at the Portadown end of the town. By early afternoon, the device had been made safe and the tape removed. Anyone with information should contact the police on 0800 600 8000.
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Weather for Portadown
Thursday 23 May 2013
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