Loyalists target kids playing GAA

Loyalists are being blamed for a bomb alert at a West Belfast GAA ground yesterday where up to 40 children were training with their club.
The PSNI say the device that was left at Lámh Dhearg GAA pitch at Hannahstown (above) had the potential to kill had it been activated. “This was a viable device, had it been activated it would have had the potential to kill,” added the PSNI spokesman.

A device placed on a pitch where local children were taking part in football training had the potential to kill had it been activated, according to the PSNI.
The device was discovered by a club member on pitches at the Lámh Dhearg GAA Club on the Upper Springfield Road at 2.10pm yesterday.

Up to 40 children aged between 10- and 15-years-of-age had been training on the pitch for almost two hours before the device was discovered.The device had been attached with wire to the left hand side of a gate which leads on to the pitch. Luckily for the children, only the right hand side of the gate was opened. The device was made safe by British Army Technical Officers and taken away for forensic examination.

A spokesman for the Lámh Dhearg club condemned the attack and said it was lucky that none of the children had been killed or injured.

“One of the club members found the device which had been attached to the gate and then buried under some grass.

“We had 40 kids on the pitch from 11.30am and they would have been in great danger had the device gone off.

“We evacuated the kids straight away and they were taken home by their parents.”

Sinn Féin Assembly Member for West Belfast Bairbre de Brún said that the club had been attacked before by loyalists and said that the planting of the device would cause great anger in the local community.

“This is one in a long line of attacks on the club, some have been claimed by loyalists and some have not.

“The club provides a fantastic service and is central to the community.
“This incident happened as the younger teams were training and young people should not be put at risk,” she added.

A PSNI spokesman said that it appeared that the device had been a distress flare. He described the planting of the device as a “despicable act” which should be condemned by the whole community. The PSNI say that it is too early to say who planted the device.

“This was a viable device, had it been activated it would have had the potential to kill,” added the PSNI spokesman.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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