BELFAST: Police in Northern Ireland have said that a “viable device” has been taken away after a bomb alert. The explosive device was discovered near a school in Ardoyne in north Belfast. Twenty houses near Holy Cross Boys’ Primary School had to be evacuated for several hours while the security alert took place. Police said that the device had been taken away for forensic analysis. Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee condemned those responsible. “This security alert in Ardoyne has brought nothing but disruption to the local area,” he said. “A number of residents have had to leave their homes as a result of this alert. This is the last thing people need. “The local community wants to be able to go about their business in peace without these type of incidents that serve no purpose whatsoever.” It was placed at the school gates, and and Sinn Fein MLA for the area Gerry Kelly said it was meant to kill. “I condemn it outright,” he said. “Those behind it have no regard whatsoever for this community and they need to end these futile acts.” Mr Kelly added: “I welcome the fact that this device was found before it killed or injured somebody and anyone with information should bring it to the PSNI.” Secretary of State James Brokenshire said: “I am sickened by this incident with dissident republican terrorists placing a bomb close to a primary school in north Belfast.
“This shows their wanton disregard for human life, potentially putting children in danger. “The consequences could have been utterly devastating and it shows them for what they really are. “I am grateful to the emergency services for their work in keeping people safe.” Police later clarified the device was discovered on Brookfield Street in Ardoyne, which runs off Herbert Street and near a community centre, after it had been placed by the school gates. They also said some people with disabilities were among those who had to be taken from their homes in the middle of the night. A number of controlled explosions were carried out at the scene and the device was taken away for forensic analysis. Mr Noble said: “Many families with young children, older people, the sick and those with significant disabilities had to leave their homes in the middle of the night last night. “Police and community representatives stepped in to make sure these people had somewhere to go and were kept safe while those responsible for all of this were absent, likely safe in their beds.” He said the local community deserved an apology and explanation from those behind the incident.