Hoax devices left at Alliance councillor’s Portrush home

The suspicious items, wrapped in pride flags, were left at the home of Alliance councillor Peter McCully.

Newly elected Alliance councillor, Peter McCully, has had a hoax device left outside his home in Portrush.

The two suspicious objects that were examined by Army Technical Officers (ATO) were wrapped in pride flags. A controlled explosion was carried out on both devices.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland have said they are treating the incident as a hate crime.

The Alliance Party have confirmed in a statement that the devices targeted both Peter McCully and a former party councillor.

The devices were left in the Hopefield Avenue area of Portrush

The Alliance Party’s full statement said:

“We utterly condemn those behind these appalling attacks and call on all other parties to do likewise. Nobody should face this kind of threat when simply doing their job. In addition, local residents have been left facing huge disruption due to their irresponsible actions of a few who represent nobody other than themselves.”

“This has echoes of both the dark days of our troubled past and more recent times, when homes and offices of Alliance elected representatives were targeted for once again simply doing our job. The addition of a Pride flag adds an extra sinister edge.

“It is clear some are still not getting the message this reckless violence is not welcome in Northern Ireland.

“We urge anyone with information on these incidents to contact police with it immediately.”

Mr McCully told the BBC’s Talkback:

“Portrush is a welcoming and inclusive place and to have this type of incident occurring on our doorstep is obviously tarnishing the reputation of the town.”

Mr McCully said he did not want to speculate about the presence of a Pride flag with the hoax device.

However, he said a “toxic culture” had emerged around LGBT issues in recent weeks.

“I feel this is almost an escalation of that,” he added. “We have seen a number of incidents recently and it does have the impact of almost normalising these types of actions.

“It’s clear that we are facing a rising tide in prejudice of LGBT people and we need to come out strongly and condemn that.”

Mr McCully said it represented an attack on democracy.

He added: “I have only recently been elected – I was elected back in the local government election a number of weeks ago.

“From talking to my local colleagues and also my wider party colleagues, the safety of candidates was very much a concern of people going forward, so it does have a chilling effect.

“I obviously have a mandate from the people of Causeway DEA (district electoral area) to be their representative and this type of action will not put me off, it will not deter me from speaking out on the matters that matter to them, and also representing Alliance values in Causeway DEA and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.”

Detective Chief Inspector Hamilton said:

“The hoax devices have now been recovered and will be forensically examined. The placement of these devices has caused untold disruption to the lives of local people, many of whom have had to leave their homes while we made sure the area was safe for them.

“Those responsible care nothing for the impact they have on communities nor do they care about the fear and uncertainty their actions cause.

“Such attempts to intimidate and threaten are completely unacceptable.

“Detectives are now robustly investigating and would ask anyone with information, or anyone who may have captured footage in the area of Hopefield Avenue, to please get in touch”.

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