Northern Ireland

Homes evacuated and school closed in security alert

A security alert which caused families to spend the night in a community centre in north Belfast is over.

The army investigated a suspicious car found at Weavershill Court at about 2300 BST on Wednesday.

There were at least two controlled explosions on it but nothing was found in the vehicle.

Eighty homes were evacuated and two ambulances assisted elderly residents. Ligoniel Community Centre was opened to accommodate people.

The Ligoniel Road has now reopened and families have returned to their homes.

However, St Vincent de Paul Primary School has been closed.

'Long night'

Bernie Kelly from the Belfast Trust emergency response team said she was contacted about the incident just before midnight.

Image caption A number of families had to spend the night in Ligoniel Community Centre

"It's been a long night for the families, they have been very good about it.

"It's not very nice to have to leave your home in the middle of the night.

"This is following a pattern recently and people across the city have been in the same position."

Ms Kelly said so far there has been at least one controlled explosion.

"The police can't give us an estimation of when we can go back in, so we have no idea."

'Hysterical'

Carmel Brown lives nearby and has spent the night in Ligoniel community centre.

"We got the call at about 0140 there was a policeman at the door who said there might be a bomb in a car

"I think its awful - my children were hysterical, but the people in the community centre have been great."

Kathleen Kelly also had to leave her family home.

Image caption Roads have been closed due to the alert

"I am absolutely disgusted this has happened, we have people here who are disabled, sick and need to get their medication and get them back home

"The people who have done this have disrupted the whole community. We don't know how long we were going to be here."

The MP for the area, Nigel Dodds, said it was "deeply regrettable that so many people have been put out of their homes in this way."

St Patrick's College Ligoniel school remains open and the headmaster said he "would like pupils to still come to school even if they are late".