Cllr Máire Hendron said: “This alert caused seriously disruption to people living in the surrounding area. People were evacuated from their homes and a number of families with young children have been out their houses since 7.30 in the morning.
“I want to praise local organisations and activists who got a community hall opened up in order to provide food and warmth to those who were evacuated.
“Those behind this alert deserve nothing but contempt and must face the full rigours of the law. Anyone who can help police catch these thugs should contact them now.
Local MLA Anna Lo said: “I am disgusted by these thugs who do not care about the consequences of their actions. this alert did not achieve anything except to bring disruption and misery to local people.”