Gun cartridge attached to lock at party’s office

Police were called to the Alliance office at West Street following the discovery of a shotgun cartridge. INCT 31-751-CON
Police were called to the Alliance office at West Street following the discovery of a shotgun cartridge. INCT 31-751-CON

It was ‘business as usual’ at the Alliance Party’s Carrick office shortly after a suspicious package was found at the premises on Friday.

Police were alerted after a shotgun cartridge was discovered tied to the lock of the West Street building.

Councillor Noel Williams, who is also chair of Carrickfergus Policing and Community Safety Partnership, made the find as he arrived to open the office around 9.00am.

“I noticed on the lock there was a contraption. It was a shotgun cartridge. I rang 999,” said Councillor Williams.

A PSNI spokesman confirmed they recovered a suspicious object at business premises in West Street on Friday.

The object, he added, has been taken away for further forensic examinations.

Mr Williams added the premises opened for business after the incident.

East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson said that intimidation will not prevent Alliance working and delivering for everyone in the area.

Noting this incident comes a week after a hoax device was discovered outside the party’s office in East Belfast, Mr Dickson said: “This is yet another senseless attack on the hardworking Alliance team in East Antrim and the local community, many of whom rely on the constituency services that we provide.

“There is absolutely no justification for this level of intimidation and there should be no place in our society for those who wish to spread fear and intimidation.

“Those behind this unjustifiable attack do not speak for the majority of residents in East Antrim, who want to see a peaceful future for our area, and Northern Ireland as a whole.

“Clearly there are those among us who want to drag us back to the dark days of the past and I would appeal to anyone with information to contact the PSNI.”

The West Street location was badly damaged by fire after a Union flag protest erupted in violence in December 2012. It was back in operation just under a year ago before an official opening ceremony was carried out by party leader and Justice Minister David Ford in November of last year.

Mr Dickson added: “The perpetrators of these acts are obviously threatened by the non-violent, non-sectarian and progressive message of the Alliance Party.

“This latest attempt to intimidate us only highlights their wish to disrupt the good work of Alliance Party representatives who are working to deliver the shared and better future that everyone in our area deserves.”