Northern Ireland

Finaghy, south Belfast, alert ends and is declared hoax

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Media captionFinaghy Road North was closed as a result of the alert

A security alert in south Belfast that caused dozens of families to spend the night out of their homes has ended.

It began around 15:00 BST on Thursday after a number of suspicious objects were found near the railway line at Finaghy Halt station.

They were examined by Army bomb disposal experts and declared elaborate hoaxes.

The objects have all been removed and the train line and all roads have reopened.

Chief Inspector Ken Pennington said: "I would like to thank the community in Finaghy, commuters and our partner agencies for their patience and support during this operation.

"A number of homes were evacuated during the course of this security alert.

"Throughout this incident the safety of the public and police officers had been at the forefront of our planning and actions.

"Those responsible for placing these items have shown a total disregard for the local community and also for the wider community.

Churches and a leisure centre were opened to provide emergency accommodation for affected residents.

The railway line was closed between Great Victoria Street and Lisburn, with buses running instead.

A number of controlled explosions were carried out on Thursday evening.

As well as causing serious disruption to rail services, the alert also caused traffic disruption.

Several houses were evacuated in the areas of Finaghy Road North, Finaghy Park Central, Finaghy Park North, Ardmore Avenue and Diamond Gardens.

Image caption Army bomb experts were called in to investigate the suspicious object

Catherine Graham, one of the residents affected, said she had received no warning at all.

"I just got time to lift the baby's food and that was it, we had to leave," she said.

"I've got two children, one of whom has asthma, we have no medication with us, so yes, I've been really badly put out.

"Hannah's been up later than normal, she has school in the morning. It's so inconvenient and nobody really wants the hassle of this.

"It's reminiscent of the times I grew up with and none of us want to see that for our children."

The Lord Mayor of Belfast Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said the alert had caused "considerable disruption".

"While many families were asked to evacuate last night, many didn't leave so those who stayed within the cordon will want to get to work.


"The council opened Anderstown Leisure Centre, it wasn't used, the Red Cross were in the area. Most people who did stay out made their own arrangements.

"It has caused huge inconvenience to local residents."

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