28/11/2013

Crossmaglen Security Alert Continues

A security alert is continuing in Crossmaglen this morning following the discovery of a suspicious object.

On Wednesday, a device, understood to be a beer keg, was found left close to a north-south electricity interconnector.

The discovery followed a telephone warning that a bomb had been left in the Co Armagh village. The person who made the call used a recognised codeword, it has been reported.

As the alert continues, the Dundalk Road between Foxfield Road and the border has been closed. The pylons link the electricity grids of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The alert has received widespread condemnation from NI's political parties.

Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister and DUP member Arlene Foster said: "It is not the first time our infrastructure has been attacked by terrorists. A previous generation wasted precious lives trying to advance a political goal through such tactics. They failed. This further attempt will also fail.

"I have been in touch with the Electricity Systems Operator. The Operator has procedures in place to deal with this event and ensure that power to homes in Northern Ireland is not disrupted.
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"I have no doubt that the majority of our population are opposed to this activity. These terrorists can only be put out of business if the community gives information to the police and provide zero cover for anyone involved such hate filled terror."

Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy described the incident as "very concerning".

He said: "The vast majority of the people in south Armagh want to live in peace, free from the threat of terrorism.

"Those who are trying to kill innocent people with a bomb attack in Belfast and heighten tensions with bomb alerts in other areas offer nothing, but a corrupt ideology.

"They might copy the tactics of the Provisional IRA, but like them, they will still not achieve a united Ireland."

Terry Hearty, who is a local Sinn Féin Councillor, added that it was causing significant disruption within the area.

"A number of houses in the area have been evacuated," he is quoted as saying. "There's a section of the road closed close to the border and Gardaí (Irish police) have roads closed on the other side of the border.

"Tomorrow (Thursday) they say when they go in to examine this device that there may be more evacuations. They're predicting that the road will be closed most of the day."

Police have said the alert could continue "for some time".

(JP/CD)

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