A West Belfast MLA has hit out at those responsible for a security alert in the lower Falls that caused widespread disruption.  On Friday homes were evacuated and roads were closed in the area after a suspect device was found taped to a lamppost in Ross Road.

British army technical officers later declared the object –  two pipes held together with masking tape – an elaborate hoax.

Sinn Féin’s Fra McCann has laid the blame for the incident at the door of a local band of hoods who, as we detailed in last week’s Andersonstown News, are terrorising the community.  He has also called on housing associations to take action against the known thugs.

“Once again it would be safe to say this was planted by anti-social elements who plagued the area for many years and are holding it to ransom.

“Attaching this object to a lamppost caused massive inconvenience to people in the area who couldn’t leave their homes and it highlights the utter contempt these people hold local residents in.”

Cllr McCann says it is time for statutory bodies to take action to deal with the problem once and for all.

“I have held several meetings with the Housing Executive, Social Services and the PSNI about this because the people behind this activity are well-known. The Housing Executive knows where they live and have been at their houses on many occasions in the past.  It’s time all of these agencies stepped up to the plate to take action to rid our area of these people who have nothing to offer the community at all.

“I will be delivering that message at a further meeting within the next week with each of these three agencies.  For too long they have operated in isolation but they need to look at it together and realise they have the power to act.”