ARMY Technical Officers have carried out a controlled explosion on a suspicious device outside a Catholic church in north Belfast.
Major disruption had caused when the Crumlin Road was closed following the discovery of the device at the front gates of Holy Cross Church.
The Crumlin Road has now re-opened, say police.
About eight homes in the area had been evacuated.
The controlled explosion on the device which has damaged the fence surrounding the church.
Police have now re-opened the roads between Ardoyne roundabout and Cambrai Street.
Fr Gary Donegan said that Mass at the church had not been disrupted during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
However, worshippers have been able to attend for Mass.
Said Fr Donegan: “I don’t know what their motive is behind any of this kind of behaviour,” he said.
“At the moment, all they have managed to do is prevent, should there have been a sick call or an emergency, the priests from leaving the monastery here.”
The church had been declared out of bounds to Fr Donegan and other priests.
“We’re completely cut off at the moment,” he said.
“We have major renovation work going on and we would be expecting the workmen to arrive here in the next half hour, but their day is going to be disrupted.
DUP North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has condemned those behind leaving the suspect device.
“This security alert has caused massive disruption to the evacuated households, to early morning traffic and to those who planned to attend the church this morning.
“Whatever purpose lay behind the placing of this suspicious object will not be advanced by one iota.
“Those responsible for this device cared nothing for the disruption and the fear which they have caused. Their criminal actions are despised by the vast majority of society.
“I urge anyone who can assist the police to identify those responsible and to bring them to justice to pass that information on without delay.
“We are again indebted to the army bomb disposal officers who are working to clear this alert and to protect members of the public from any danger.”