A security alert has disrupted crowds leaving a Derry City football match.
President Michael D Higgins and Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton Harris were among those who attended the President’s Cup match to see Derry City triumph over Shamrock Rovers at the Brandywell Stadium on Friday evening.
However, the discovery of a suspicious object in the Celtic Court area close to the stadium caused what SDLP leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood described as “significant disruption” for local residents and those travelling from the match.
A security alert near the Brandywell is causing significant disruption for local residents tonight.
Particularly frustrating that this is happening while President Higgins is in Derry for the Cup match.
We’re liaising with local police & hope the area can be made safe soon.
— Colum Eastwood 🇺🇦 (@columeastwood) February 10, 2023Advertisement
“Elderly residents and children have had their night turned upside down as police attempt to make the area safe,” Mr Eastwood said.
“It is particularly frustrating that local people and Derry City fans are experiencing this disruption as President Higgins visits for this evening’s President’s Cup match.
“I would appeal to everyone in the area to follow the directions of local police. SDLP representatives will continue to liaise with emergency services as they seek to make the area safe as quickly as possible.”
Sinn Féin MLA Padraig Delargy condemned the security alert.
He said: “This has caused huge disruption for elderly residents and thousands of fans attending the Derry City match at the Brandywell tonight.
“No one wants to see this type of disruption, especially on a cold winter night.
“I would urge people to follow advice from the Police, and avoid the area while this security alert continues.”
Congratulations to @derrycityfc who claimed the 2023 President’s Cup after a 2-0 victory over @ShamrockRovers in the Ryan McBride Stadium.
Great to see Michael D Higgins in attendance to present the trophy 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/dMV1EUtQEG
— League of Ireland (@league_ireland) February 10, 2023Advertisement
A police spokesperson said officers attended the scene of a security alert in the Celtic Court area of Derry following the discovery of a suspicious object.
They urged motorists and pedestrians to avoid the area.
“There is an ongoing security alert on the Lone Moor Road area of the Brandywell and Police have closed off the area,” they said.
A Northern Ireland Office spokesperson said: “We do not comment on security matters.”