Wednesday 21 March 2018

Wedding guests evacuated as PSNI make safe 'viable device' at Derry hotel

The Waterfoot Hotel in County Derry
The Waterfoot Hotel in County Derry

David Kearns

A wedding party were among those evacuated as PSNI officers made safe a “viable device” at a Derry hotel.

Police in Northern Ireland recovered the device in the grounds of the Waterfoot Hotel, where a large wedding reception was taking place, on Friday morning.

Some 40 wedding guests who had travelled to Northern Ireland from the UK and US were among those evacuated from the hotel after the alert was raised.

Groom Donal Doherty, who is getting married today to Margaret Johnston, was checking in when he was told he and his guests would have to leave.

Read More: Three venues in Northern Ireland evacuated amid security alerts

The told the Belfast Telegraph that the guests and staff were evacuated across the Foyle bridge to Da Vinci's Hotel, part of the Garvan O'Doherty Group that owns the Waterfoot.

Initially described as an “elaborate hoax” by the PSNI, the device was made safe at the hotel by a controlled explosion.

The Waterfoot Hotel had been due to host one of three PSNI recruitment events today; however, the event has been deferred until next Saturday.

The two other recruitment events, in Belfast and Omagh, have gone ahead despite also being subjects to security alerts yesterday.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: "This device had the potential to harm anyone in the area and those involved have shown total disregard for human life.

“We are obviously very thankful that this attack was thwarted and that no one was killed or seriously injured."

Mr Hamilton added: “Clearly there are people out there in today’s society who are still intent on targeting our police service and causing harm to our communities.

“We know, however, that the actions of these few misguided individuals will not stop people pursuing a career in policing.”

The Derry recruitment event has been postponed until next Saturday, 17 October, a PSNI spokesperson added.

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