Northern Ireland news

East Belfast GAA club security alert ends after hoax bomb call

East Belfast GAC was forced to abandon training due to a security alert
Digital Staff

Police have concluded a search of East Belfast GAC's training ground after an anonymous call claimed explosive devices had been left at the playing fields.

The club was forced to abandon training last night as PSNI officers placed a cordon around Henry Jones Playing Fields in the Castlereagh Hills.

After finishing their search today, police confirmed that no devices were found.

"Officers have conducted a search of the playing fields at Church Road in Castlereagh and nothing untoward has been found," a statement said.

"Police have now left the scene and the facility has re-opened."

In a statement posted on Twitter this morning, East Belfast GAC said it had "worked quickly to make people safe and help them disperse from the area calmly and efficiently."

The statement continued: "The club expresses its thanks to both the PSNI and to our playing members, who behaved impeccably during the situation.

"The creation and maintenance of a safe environment for sport to be played by all and the safety of our members whilst playing remains a priority for us all.

"The club intends to continue to work with the police, the community in East Belfast, and the public at large, whose support we have enjoyed on a daily basis, to ensure the continued safety and enjoyment of our members and patrons. Our door remains open, to all.

"The matter has now been passed to the PSNI. The club does not intend to make further comment at this time."

Alliance Councillor Eric Hanvey described those behind the security alert as an “absolute disgrace."

“East Belfast GAA has received plaudits from right across the community, and rightly so, in their attempt to help build a better future in East Belfast by bringing people together via sport, so they can live, work and play together in peace," he said.

“Those behind security alerts such as these are clearly not interested in something so positive but rather only division and destruction. They are unwanted in East Belfast or anywhere else, and I urge anyone with information on them to contact police with it immediately.”

SDLP Councillor Séamas de Faoite said: This threat is an appalling attempt to intimidate East Belfast GAA, who have brought people from across our community together in an appreciation of their sporting code.

“No team should feel threatened by those who seek to deny that the GAA can be just as much a part of the character and spirit of East Belfast as any other sport."

East Belfast GAC was formed earlier this year and played its first match in the Down All-County Football League last month.

It was revealed earlier this summer that prominent Irish language campaigner Linda Ervine has agreed to take on the role of president.

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