Northern Ireland

Londonderry train station and Quarry Steps alerts now over

Alert at railway station
Image caption The railway station was evacuated while searches were carried out

Two bomb alerts in Londonderry have now ended, with police saying "nothing untoward" was found.

The train station was evacuated after claims that a bomb was left in the area, while Quarry Steps in the Spencer Road area was also cordoned off in a separate alert.

The railway line between Coleraine and Derry was closed while searches were carried out.

The station and all roads that were closed have now reopened.

Ch Insp Tony Callaghan said: "Our priority throughout this operation was to keep people safe.

"We appreciate the support of local people as we worked to establish the substance of the claims and I would like to thank members of the public for their patience and co-operation during this operation.

"Whilst we have conducted a detailed search of the area I would ask local people to remain vigilant and, If you see any suspicious objects, please do not touch them but inform police immediately by dialling 999."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the bomb alerts, along an Apprentice Boys parade route, were an attempt to raise tension and "diminish our peace".

"Those who seek to disrupt that respect or diminish the process of reconciliation in this city with bombs or bullets have betrayed the people of Derry," he said.

"This is not about a divide between Catholics and Protestants, unionism and nationalism or loyalists and republicans. The only divide in this city is between those who want to blow our peace apart and those of us who will stand together to protect it."

Image caption Politicians condemned those behind the two security alerts

Sinn Féin assembly member Raymond McCartney said the alerts "do nothing for the image of the Derry as a forward looking city".

"They have also caused disruption to city centre traders who were already experiencing a slower than usual day in the run up to Christmas as a result of the Apprentice Boys parade," he said.

"Great strides have been made in recent years by the local community, the Apprentice Boys and the PSNI to ensure a respectful atmosphere and minimise disruption, and those efforts have been widely supported."

DUP assembly member Gary Middleton said the alerts "will have inconvenienced many local people and visitors to our city today, but they have achieved nothing".

"Londonderry has suffered enough at the hands of those who want to drag Northern Ireland back," he said.

"The contrast between the positive work done by the Apprentice Boys and those who want to create disruption and fear could not be greater."