Fears polling station will be pulled from schedule if bomb alerts continue

Brian Tierney.
Brian Tierney.

A second bomb alert at a polling station on consecutive elections in Derry has been described as a failed and futile attempt to undermine the democratic process.

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said: “The disturbances close to the polling station at St. Paul’s Primary School which involved petrol bombs being thrown at police and a hoax bomb alert must be condemned.

Raymond McCartney.

Raymond McCartney.

“Those behind these incidents were clearly trying to undermine the democratic process but they failed to do so.

“They do not have the support of the local community who, despite the futile actions of those behind this trouble, continued to use the polling station.”

SDLP Ballyarnett councillor Brian Tierney said: “The SDLP pressed hard for St Paul’s to be included in the polling station scheme so that local people would have the opportunity to cast their vote nearby.

“We have now experienced two alerts in the middle of two consecutive elections. This has caused significant disruption for voters, electoral office staff and others in this community.

“If this does not stop, if the democratic process is not allowed to happen free from interruption, then there’s a real possibility that polling station scheme will be altered and local people may have to travel double the distance to cast their votes elsewhere. The only people who lose out in that scenario are those who live in our community.

“I am appealing for those involved in this to stop immediately."

Read more: Teens and 12-year-old arrested at Derry polling station bomb alert riot

A second bomb alert on consecutive elections in Galliagh on Thursday evening was declared an 'elaborate hoax' by police.

The alert at Moss Park, sparked by the discovery of a suspicious device in the area of the St. Paul's polling station just before 7 p.m., ended around 11 p.m.

Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: “I would like to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during the course of this policing operation.

"The blame for the inconvenience, however, lies squarely with those individuals who left this close to a local school, which was being used as a polling station this evening. Those responsible have absolutely nothing to offer local people or society in general.

“I would like to appeal to anyone who has information about this incident to contact police at Strand Road on 101, quoting reference number 1639 of 23/05/19. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”