Local MLAs have united in condemning the person or persons who left a viable pipe bomb in the car park of a packed Ballymena Showgrounds on Friday night.
Describing them as “sinister idiots”, DUP MLA Paul Frew said: “These devices can be crude and highly unpredictable but no less dangerous. To leave one at a place where hundreds of people are walking or congregating is just plain and simple madness.
“So many families attend these events and we could have been looking at a disaster whereby many young children and their parents and grandparents could have been hurt, maimed or even killed in a blast created by this device.
“There is no justification for this terrorist act. What were these people wanting or trying to achieve apart from murder? This takes us all back to the sinister acts of murder and attempted murder in the past that we all remember all to well,” said Mr Frew who commented the actions of the security forces, council staff and marshals at the event.
“I would also commend the patience of the many people who where caught up in this serious and highly dangerous situation,” he said.
UUP MLA Robin Swann described the incident, which led to the cancellation of the Raceway meeting and the evacuation of the grounds, as “an act of sheer lunacy”.
“Leaving a pipe bomb at a family event was an act of sheer lunacy and I wholeheartedly condemn those who left this device,” he said.
“I urge anyone with information to give it to the police as soon as possible so that the mindless thugs who planted this bomb can be brought before the courts.
“Northern Ireland suffered terribly during the Troubles and we cannot as a community go back to this situation where family events are targeted by the bombers,” said Assemblyman Swann who praised the security forces “for their professional handling of this potentially lethal situation”.