Pipe bombs found near Ballyclare church

Published Friday, 01 February 2013
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Two viable pipe bombs have been discovered during a security alert close to a Catholic Church in Ballyclare, Co Antrim.

Pipe bombs found near Ballyclare church
Cordons have been erected and army bomb experts are on hand. (© Pacemaker)

The Sacred Heart Church on the Doagh Road was evacuated while a number of suspicious items were examined on Friday.

No controlled explosions were carried out by the army bomb squad but component parts were removed for further forensic examination.

The road, which was closed for a time during the alert, has since reopened and residents allowed to return to their homes.

Parish Priest Father Eugene O'Hagan said the alert disrupted mass at the chapel.

"We had scheduled to have mass at 9.30am on the feast of St Brigid with our own primary school, that of course did not take place," he said.

"There is disruption for us but also it has caused huge disruption for the townsfolk here in Ballyclare."

Sinn Féin MLA for South Antrim Mitchel McLaughlin has called for clarity.

"Questions remain as to whether this was an attack on the church or somebody had abandoned these devices in the grounds.

"The wider community in Ballyclare should have clarity on this and I would urge the PSNI to provide this," he said.

Alliance Newtownabbey Councillor Pat McCudden said: "I am outraged that lives have been put at risk. There can be no justification for leaving a pipe bomb in such a populated area. This is an attack on the church and its congregation."

UUP South Antrim MLA Danny Kinahan also condemned those responsible for the bomb.

"This has been the cause of disruption to local residents and motorists and has required the attention of Army bomb disposal officers," said Mr Kinahan.

"I utterly condemn whoever is responsible for this act. If this does turn out to be an attempt to stoke up sectarian tensions in Ballyclare and elsewhere in south Antrim that is also to be condemned.

"I know that the vast majority of the community in South Antrim has no time for those who would seek to create and exploit sectarian divisions for their own ends."

Police said they are keen to hear from anyone who saw suspicious activity or vehicles in the area over the previous 48 hours.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
8 Comments
Big T in Ballyclare wrote (624 days ago):
I for one am disgusted to see this nonsense in Ballyclare, these thugs don't represent me. We have good community relations in B'clare and we don't want these sectarian attacks!
Dee in newtownabbey wrote (625 days ago):
Do we seriously expect anything more from Loyalists? This type of thing is synonymous with loyalism. And yes one of the other posters is quite correct. Where is the universal outcry about an attack on a place of religious sanctity? We don't have it because we have become sanitised to this type of despicable thing from loyalists. There is not a catholic church thats in a vulnerable, isolated part of Northern Ireland that hasn't suffered some type of sectarian attack from loyalist extremists.
petand in Londonderry wrote (625 days ago):
@lucylou. Unfortuneately thse morons do have quite a large group of supporters. As do their opposite numbers who would claim to be nationalist or Catholic. I call them the walking dead for most assuredly they are dead in both mind and spirit.
true loyalist in dundonald wrote (626 days ago):
i am a loyalist and i think that its wrong to plant pipe bombs at a place of worship, it does not matter if its a chapel or church , its wrong, is this the best these people can do for ulster?they are a disgrace to all of society.
lucylou in belfast wrote (626 days ago):
Mitchel Mclaughlin says we need clarity on wether this was an attack on the church or somebody had abandoned these devices in the grounds.Which if either would be less horrific???Surely the message should be REGARDLESS OF WHO YOU ARE THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE AND ANYONE CAUGHT WITH THESE MURDEROUS DEVICES ANYWHERE WILL BE DEALT WITH TO THE FULL LETTER OF THE LAW.THIS SHOULD BE THE MESSAGE FROM ALL POLITICANS.a minimum sentence of 25 years with no remission should be mandatory for ALL who endanger life with explosives or guns. as for petrol bombers a minimum of 5 years with no remission.This country needs to get tough with sentences.PEOPLE ARE SICK TO DEATH WITH THIS NONSENSE ALL OF IT FROM BOTH 'TRADITIONS'.if violence /murder is how you all 'defend' your 'cultures'then you're welcome to them.!!
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