CHILDREN were evacuated from St. Paul’s Primary School in Irvinestown by armed police on Monday morning after a note taped to a bottle of petrol claimed a bomb had been left inside. 
The Impartial Reporter can reveal that three plastic bottles containing petrol were discovered in total as several police officers sealed off the area around the school on the Lisnarick Road. 
Parents were asked to collect their children from a nearby secondary school on day one of the new term in a text message.
The message sent at 9.23am read: “Due to an emergency situation we need you to collect your child/children at St. Mary’s College now. We assure you that your children are safe and well.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland has told this newspaper that one of the plastic bottles was tied to the gate of the school along with a note that stated there was a bomb inside. 
Two other bottles had been left on the grounds of the school.
A spokesman for the PSNI said officers attending this call “were faced with a note saying there was a bomb in the school.”
“The children were therefore taken away from the school to safety via the nearest, safest and fastest route and away from a possible device in the school.”
In a statement, PSNI Inspector Rory Hoy said when it comes to public safety “we cannot take chances.”
“We would like to thank local people and the wider community in Irvinestown for their patience and understanding throughout the operation.
“I would appeal for anyone with information about this incident to please contact us. It is only with your help that we can make our communities safer,” he said. 
Principal Anne Molloy said the school followed its policies and procedures during the incident.
“The children and staff were not endangered at any time and the children were unaware of any possible risk,” she told The Impartial Reporter.
“We would like to extend a thank you to St. Mary’s College for helping us to manage the situation so calmly and effectively. As always our parents rose to the occasion and we are very grateful for their support and prompt response.
“We are also grateful to the local community for their immediate offers of help and support. Both George Beacom of the Bawnacre Centre and Joe Mahon of Mahon’s Hotel phoned to offer the use of their premises,” she said.
There has been condemnation from across the political spectrum.
“To involve a primary school is beyond belief,” said Sinn Fein Councillor John Feely.
Democratic Unionist Councillor Raymond Farrell said: “This sort of activity is totally unacceptable.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton said: “The mindset of such individuals is something that is not wanted within our society.”
Anyone who knows anything about this incident, or who saw any unusual activity in the area is asked to contact police on the non emergency number 101, quoting reference 202 of 04/09/17. 
Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously through the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.