Bomb planted outside theatre
Dissident republicans have been blamed for leaving a bomb in a car
parked outside a theatre in Lisburn, County Antrim last night.
More than 350 members of the cast and audience at a performance of a
musical at the Lagan Valley Island Civic Centre were forced to flee when
a warning of a device was made last night.
British army bomb disposal experts worked on the suspect vehicle for
several hours before returning today to complete defusing the device.
The PSNI police described the bomb as "viable". No claim of
responsibility has been made.
A local theatre group was halfway through a performance of Carousel when
the evacuation was ordered last night.
Roy McIlwrath, of Lisnagarvey Operatic Society, which was putting on the
show, said: "It was a bitterly cold night and the cast had to go
"Some of them were out in their bare feet, with very little on but
costumes they were wearing, it became a priority to look after them."
It is thought the bomb was timed to coincide with the run-up to the
British general election on May 5 and follows an appeal by Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams for the Provisional IRA to stand down in favour
strictly political activity.
Meanwhile, a west Belfast clergyman has said unionist paramilitaries
carried out a petrol bomb attack on his home yesterday morning.
Pastor Jack McKee was asleep at his Ballysillan home when his car and
house were attacked by three men with petrol and paint bombs shortly
The Protestant clergyman believes the attack was designed to force him
to close a church-based taxi firm which he opened on the Shankill Road
two weeks ago.
Mr McKee said the attack was linked to a turf war involving the unionist
paramilitary UVF and the false impression that former leader Jackie
Mahood was connected with the Pastor's taxi firm.
Meanwhile, the leader of the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist Party has
called on the media to become more active in the case of murder victim
David Ervine said it was clear the rival LVF was responsible for the
murder and that the group's involvement is "petrifying" witnesses.
"It is shocking that a young woman is brutally murdered and disappeared
yet people aren't asking about it day after day," he said.