FIRST DAY TERROR AT PRIMARY SCHOOL
Children at Holy Cross Primary School in North Belfast were subject to
two terrifying bomb alerts yesterday, when loyalist paramilitary group
- the Red Hand Defenders - claimed three bombs had been left at the
school. The call was made to the school on the children's first day
back after the summer holidays. A suspicious object was then found on
the gates by the school caretaker and the PSNI were called to the
scene. The children and parents were given shelter in the assembly
hall of a neighbouring school while bomb disposal experts examined the
suspect package. However, the device proved to be a hoax.
Later in the morning pupils were again moved out of the building after
claims that further devices had been placed on the roof. To avoid
scaring the young girls, teachers told the pupils that they were
having an early and longer break than usual. The alert meant no
pedestrians or vehicles could use the main entrance.
Among the young children who had their day disrupted were 20 new
students, all aged four.
Sinn Fein councillor Margaret McLenaghan said the alert had caused fear
and anger among parents and children. The Chairman of the school`s
board of governors, Fr. Aidan Troy, was also angry and exasperated at
this morning`s events.
Holy Cross school is situated beside the Protestant Glenbryn area and
was previously the focus for a sustained protest by loyalists. Gangs
stood on either side of the road leading to the school and threw
objects at the passing children and parents as well as verbally
abusing them. Images of the demonstrations were broadcast to an
international audience and the loyalists involved received enormous
criticism for their assaults on the children, some as young as four or