A controlled explosion in Newry by security forces took place after a viable device was found on Saturday.
Police are currently appealing for information following a serious security alert in Newry.
Sinn Féin Down and Armagh MLA Liz Kimmins has condemned those responsible for the security alert in the Ashgrove Road area of Newry City.
The Newry & Armagh MLA said: “I condemn those responsible for this security alert in the Asngrove Road area of Newry following the discovery of a device. This device put residents’ lives at risk.
“This was a viable device, and a controlled explosion has been carried out and we await clearance for the families and residents still out of their homes. Five families were using the emergency shelter facilities on offer at Newry Leisure Cent
“Families have had to be evacuated from their homes on a cold winter afternoon as a result of this alert”.
The MLA added: “Those responsible for this device have nothing to offer and this is an attack on the entire community at a time when we should all be working together in the face of the public health crisis caused by COVID-19.
Anyone who may have information about this incident should contact the police said Liz Kimmins.
Police reported that a suspicious object found in the Ashgrove Road area of the city was made to police at around 3.30pm on Saturday 20th February. Police and ATO attended the scene, and ATO carried out a controlled explosion.
Newry Mourne & Down District Commander Superintendent Norman Haslett said: “As part of our public safety operation, a number of homes were evacuated. Some of the residents affected made use of the local leisure centre, as facilitated by the local Council. As of this time, most of the families have returned home and any roads closed have reopened.
“Our enquiries are continuing and we are working to establish who is responsible for what can only be described as a reckless act. This device could easily have detonated, or have been picked up by anyone, including children. Someone could have suffered serious injury.
“As we continue with our investigation, I want to thank everyone inconvenienced by the alert. In particular, I want to thank the 15 families who had to leave their homes as we worked to make the scene safe.”
Superintendent Haslett is appealing to anyone who has information which could help the police investigation to call 101 and quote reference number 1114 of 20/02/21.
A report can also be submitted via:
or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.