04 November 2005

Dissident link to conference scare

Belfast Telegraph

By Lisa Smyth
04 November 2005

Police were last night investigating the possibility that dissident republican paramilitaries were responsible for a security alert at the Waterfront Hall.

Thousands of delegates were evacuated as a result of the security alert, which was later declared to be a hoax.

The British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) event was forced to relocate to nearby St George's Market after a telephone warning was received at about 11.15am.

The three-day event was then moved to the Ulster Hall where Senator George Mitchell presented the final keynote address.

In an anonymous telephone call made to the Belfast Telegraph several hours after the original telephone warning, a caller claiming to represent the Continuity IRA said: "The Continuity IRA claims responsiblity for the evacuation of 2,000 delegates from the Waterfront Hall. The event has seen Belfast being sold as a normalised zone which is good for British investment. We remain of the belief that Britain has not control over Irish affairs and holding events of the BSCC in Belfast does not gloss up a failed agreement."

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