Northern Ireland

Westlink alert: Road re-opens amid major traffic congestion

The Westlink has been closed in both directions due to the alert
Image caption The Westlink was closed for a number of hours in both directions due to the alert

The Westlink in Belfast has re-opened following a security alert, but there are still major traffic problems in the city.

The road was closed following the discovery of a suspicious object at Cullingtree Road in west Belfast. It was later declared an elaborate hoax.

A number of homes were evacuated.

The police said there was heavy traffic and delays on the Falls Road, Shaftesbury Square, Great Victoria Street and Howard Street.

The police have advised people to use the Grosvenor Road on-slip to leave the city or the outer ring towards Stockman's Lane.

It is not yet known if anything was found during the alert.

The Divis Communuity Centre offered shelter for those whose homes were evacuated.

Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann said those responsible for the security alert had "nothing to offer the community".

"I and others are working on a daily basis to tackle decades of deprivation and underfunding in west Belfast," he said.

"Actions like these do not improve the situation in any way and only add to the problems.

"This needs to stop."