Police attacked with petrol bombs during Newry alert

May 29, 2012

Police responding to a bomb alert on the Camlough Road in Newry on Thursday evening were attacked by gangs throwing petrol bombs, bricks and stones.  One officer suffered minor injuries during the trouble.

The discovery of a suspicious object close to the Derrybeg estate around 6.00pm, prompted the alert and the road was closed to traffic from the Egyptian Arch roundabout to Monaghan Street. This led to long tail-backs and delays on routes avoiding the area.

Bomb disposal teams were tasked to examine the device and a controlled explosion was carried out.  It was later declared an elaborate hoax and the road was re-opened around 11.00pm.

Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council, Charlie Casey, said the incident caused ‘massive disruption’ and affected those travelling to the nearby Daisy Hill Hospital.

“We’re going through horrid times for business people and retail is suffering a complete downturn and they don’t need this”, Mr Casey said.

Although this is the latest in a number of security alerts in the area in recent months, Mr Casey said he believed the trouble was “opportunistic” and unconnected to the hoax.

“If some of those rioters, or the people responsible for the hoax, had relatives who necessitated going to Daisy Hill by ambulance in an emergency, what were they to do?” he asked.

SDLP MLA, Dominic Bradley, condemned the incident as “deplorable”.

“The hoax was compounded by the disgusting acts of those who attacked police with bricks, stones and petrol bombs, endangering lives and adding to the pressure they were under as they attempted to protect the community,” he said.

“It is particularly galling that all this took place close to Daisy Hill Hospital and on a route which would affect the city centre, disrupting commuters and, most worryingly, those trying to get to a place of treatment. Events like these do nothing to further any cause and are to the detriment of everyone.  However, I know that the community’s resolve against the perpetrators of these alerts is strong and unwavering,” he added.

Voicing his condemnation, Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady said: “Once again we have seen Newry brought to a standstill while a suspicious device is investigated.  Local people, like myself, are sick and tired of these pointless exercises.  Once again I would call on those responsible to outline what this type of disruption actually achieves.”

PSNI Chief Inspector David Beck thanked local people for their patience and co-operation stating that a “small criminal element” was “intent on bringing mayhem and disruption, with absolutely nothing else to offer”.

He confirmed the police investigation into the incident and the subsequent attack on the officers is continuing.