A NUMBER of homes in the Whitehouse area were evacuated after a suspicious object was found close to a Catholic church on the Shore Road.
The object was found close to the grounds of St Mary’s Star of the Sea Church at around 10.30pm on Thursday night (March 7).
The Shore Road was closed between the Doagh Road and the M5 roundabout for over three hours while army bomb experts examined the device.
Residents moved from their homes took shelter in the Valley Leisure Centre until the device was declared a hoax at around 2am on Friday morning.
Sinn Fein councillor Gerry O’Reilly hit out at the attack, saying: “This appears to be yet another sectarian act of intimidation aimed at the Catholic population in this area.
“The sooner those behind these sectarian incidents are taken off the streets and brought before the courts the better, not only for Catholics but the whole of the community.”
This was the second time the church was targeted in recent weeks. Since the beginning of February three Catholic churches have been targeted in the borough.
Last week a viable device was left at St Mary’s on the Hill in Glengormley and at the beginning of February two pipe bomb type devices were left in the grounds of the Church of the Sacred Heart in Ballyclare.
In the past week there have been a series of security alerts in the borough, focused in the Whiteabbey, Rathfern and Doagh Road areas which the Mayor, Alderman Victor Robinson described as “like anarchy”.