THERE was widespread condemnation of the bomb alert in Lurgan and the bus burning at Drumbeg during the mid monthly meeting of Craigavon Borough Council.
Mayor Carla Lockhart condemned the alert saying it was a ‘stark reminder of days gone by’.
She added: “The hijacking of a bus in Drumbeg does nothing for the community. We are trying to build community relations and it is a small minority trying to bring us back to the past.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Johnny McGibbon condemned the alert and the hijacking which he said was an attempt by a minority to cause trouble.
He also praised the community workers. “Our community workers are our unsung heroes.”
And he challenged those causing the trouble to come forward and explain why they are doing it.
“To hijack a vehicle and then force the driver to carry a hoax device to Church Place was an irrational act that defies explanation.
“Lurgan nationalists spent years lobbying for this area to be treated as a neutral space with free vehicle and pedestrian access at all times.
“They have achieved a reasonable degree of success in keeping the area open but it would seem that renegades from their own areas are intent on joining the Loyal Orders in closing down access between North and West Lurgan and our town centre,” said the Loughside Councillor.
Alliance Councillor Conrad Dixon said at a time when people are trying to bring jobs to the Borough, this was ‘the worst kind of advert’.
SDLP Councillor Joe Nelson said elderly people and those in wheelchairs were forced from their homes during the security alert. He said it was a minority of people attempting to disrupt any normality.
DUP Alderman Stephen Moutray described the bus burning as ‘wanton vandalism’ which cost Translink tens of thousands of pounds not to mention the cost to the local community.
He said the bomb hoax caused disruption to the business community as well as local residents.
“I would not be one for talking to those people for they should be behind bars where they would be taught a lesson,” said the DUP councillor.
Sinn Fein Councillor Mark O’Dowd also condemned the attack on the Drumbeg community.
He said the PSNI should be doing more. He said the rights and safety of the community is being put on the back burner so that ‘what could be agents are allowed to run free’.
“We need the PSNI to go in and the community be allowed to live in peace,” he said.