UDA blamed for school bomb

A UDA gang is believed to have planted the pipe bomb at a largely Catholic primary school in County Antrim on Monday which was found by an eight-year-old.

Brendan Shannon came across the device after arriving early at St Comgall’s Primary in Antrim early to deliver milk to classrooms, and handed it to a teacher.

The police said the eight-year-old was lucky to survive after picking up the bomb and carrying it inside.

Brendan said he noticed the device lying on top of a painted line close to the playground wall after arriving with his twin sister Ciara.

He said: “I just got off my bike and just touched it to see if it was OK. Then I just lifted it up.

“I didn’t know what it was. It was like a pipe with a screw and some wires were hanging out of it.”

A UDA group using the cover name “Real UFF (Ulster Freedom Fighters)” has been blamed for planting the device. The murder gang claimed responsibility for three similar bombs found near homes in Antrim last month.

Brendan told how he picked up “a golden pipe thing” with “wires and rope coming out of it”. Somebody told him afterwards it was a pipe bomb.

“I just got off my bike and just touched it to see if it was OK or not. It was OK and I just lifted it up and nothing was on the wire or rope - it wasn’t going down or burning or any thing so I just tried to find someone to tell them.”

Brenden’s father Gerard Shannon said he was shocked that someone had deliberately planted a bomb in a children’s playground.

“You don’t send your kids out to school in the morning thinking that someone is goingto try and kill them and their little friends,” he said. “I don’t care who’s responsible for this -- they’re crazy whoever they are.”

Brendan’s mother Siobhan Shannon, a nurse and mother-of-three, said Brendan was actually born in Australia.

“We only moved back home because we thought things had changed for the better.

“Whoever planted this bomb doesn’t seem to realise that the school is mixed with both Catholics and Protestants.

“It could easily have killed a Protestant child as a Catholic.”

* A pipe bomb device was found planted at a PSNI station in Crumlin, County Antrim on Wednesday. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, which was strongly condemned by the political parties. A similar device was discovered in a car in Strabane, County Tyrone early on Thursday morning.

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