Major disruption follows city alerts

British Army bomb experts have carried out a controlled explosion this afternoon [Thursday] on Craigavon Bridge in Derry following what the PSNI police said was the discovery of a “suspicious object” by a pedestrian.

The Craigavon Bridge is one of only two city bridges across the river Foyle and it closure has caused traffic chaos in the city.

“There is understandable dismay and anger in the city over the inconvenience caused by this alert and the people who must shoulder the blame for that are those who left this object in place”, a PSNI statement said.

On Tuesday, Belfast’s Westlink was closed while British bomb disposal experts examined three suspicious objects.

The motorway was closed in both directions after the PSNI said it had received a telephone bomb warning, causing hours of traffic chaos.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said those behind the alert were “wrong and counterproductive.”

“All that those who have closed off the main arterial routes through our city centre are responsible for causing disruption and thousands of pounds in lost trade to businesses there.

“These groups should disappear and get off the backs of this community.”

Last week an unexploded pipe-bomb was recovered from within the perimeter of Woodbourne PSNI base in west Belfast.

A spokesperson for the hardline republican 32 County Sovereignty Committee recently wrote that if the normalisation policy in the North of Ireland is not “disrupted”, republicanism will become “irrelevant for a generation”.

The spokesperson called on republicans to protest at events associated with the PSNI, including local meetings of the District Policing Partnerships.

And so-called ‘dissident’ republicans have also been blamed for a gun attack in the Bogside area of Derry last night.

The PSNI said a number of shots were fired at the door of the building. Two men were inside but neither was injured.

The Real IRA and Oglaigh na hEireann have been active in Derry and carried out a number of attacks over the past 18 months within their own communities against “antisocial elements”.

At around midnight a PSNI patrol investigating the incident came under attack with petrol bombs and other missiles.


Meanwhile, the unionist paramilitary UDA has been intimidating certain families from a loyalist housing estate in north Belfast.

The UDA ordered six families out of their homes in the Tiger’s Bay area. “One particular family are 46 years in Tiger’s Bay,” said local pastor Brian Madden.

“They are shattered that they have to leave their house.

“They have nowhere to go, no permanent place to live, and are moving from place to place.”

In a statement, the former death squads denied anyone had been expelled.

“Times have changed in north Belfast, with the UDA now supporting community development and community relations initiatives as a means of developing and securing loyalist areas of north Belfast,” it said.

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