By Bryanie Kane.
A pipe bomb, along with flammable liquid, found in a silver Toyota car in Belfast International Airport on Saturday at 14:30BST, is said to have been there for up to a year. This has caused a fear of revived dissident threat.
Police and army bomb experts were alerted to the scene on Saturday afternoon, when the the vehicle was reported as being suspicious whilst being prepared to be taken away from the long stay car park of the airport. The device has since been removed and examined in a bid to discover how long it was there. It is believed by some that it could have been there for as long as a year, leading to an unimaginable disaster. Sheron Kane, who was flying into Belfast International was “appalled at what was going on. There were a number of police vans and also heavily armed police officers. There was a rumour going around that it was all down to dissident Republicans, the Real IRA. We were all terrified.” The alert went on until 02:30 on Sunday morning. Many passengers returning home were unable to retrieve their cars and those who lived too far away were put up by the airport in a hotel until they could get it back into their possession.
The airport is reported to have been subject to another security breach on Sunday evening around 19:30. Security alarms went off and people were ordered to evacuate the building. Stephanie Shields, who was going through security at the time said: “The alarm went off and everything stopped. They said they’d have to evacuate but never actually moved anyone. The atmosphere was really strange, everyone including security personnel had a look of total shock, especially after what happened yesterday. No one knew what was going on and no one told us passengers anything.” The airport itself have refused to comment on this situation, as have the police. The South Antrim DUP MLA was unavailable to comment and other members of the constituency refused.
This comes after a 40kg bomb was discovered on Friday in Lurgan, County Armagh. Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said both devices “were left in places used by the public and with no regard for the public; it is thanks to the vigilance of individuals that no serious harm has been done.” This new outbreak of Northern Irish terrorism is having an adverse effect on the tourism which brings a lot of money to the country. The public are condemning the “stupid and cowardly people,” who are causing such strife. The Alliance Party have said: “This is exactly the type of news Northern Ireland needs to avoid.”
These scares are not the only ones to have occurred within the last week. Two other devices were found on cargo planes at East Midlands Airport and in Dubai, causing a national declaration of outrage. The Prime Minister, David Cameron commented, saying the government is working with its Arab partners to cut out the “terror cancer”.
During talks of a more peaceful and united Britain throughout this difficult time, these threats have had a major effect on public morale and the faith the Northern Irish people have for things to get better.