A serious sectarian bombing campaign is targeting Catholics in the town of Antrim.
Now the area’s two Catholic primary schools have been targeted, with eight-year-old Brendan Shannon unwittingly picking up a device planted at St Comgall’s primary school.
The boy then walked into the school and handed it over to one of the teachers.
Explosives experts were called in after the school’s 400 pupils were told to stay away from the building.
Brendan’s mother Siobhan Shannon, a nurse, said later: “The people who left that device probably have kids of their own. Have they no conscience?”
The boy and his twin sister, Ciara, had arrived early on their bicycles to help deliver milk to classrooms when he noticed the device lying on top of a painted line close to the playground wall.
He said: “I didn’t know what it was. It was like a pipe with a screw and some wires were hanging out of it. Somebody told me afterwards it was a pipe bomb.”
Brendan gave the device to one of the teachers, Marie Hannigan. Around the same there was a telephone warning of another device at a second primary school in the town, St Joseph’s.
The St Comgall’s pupils were first taken to a nearby church hall before being sent home. The PSNI later said the device found by tbe boy was viable.
School principal Hilary Cush said he was outraged.
He said: “It’s absolutely crazy. It’s unbelievable that innocent children should be caught up in something like this.”
Last month, nationalist housing estates were targeted by pipe-bombs in a co-ordinated attack, accompanied by a threat to all Catholics in the town.