Dissident republicans have been blamed for the viable pipe bomb that was destroyed outside the election count centre in Foyle, Derry.

Counting was suspended for an hour and a half as the army was called in to deal with the abandoned car containing a pipe bomb.

A taxi driver told how his car had been hijacked and he was force to bring the pipe bomb to the counting centre. The army destroyed the device at about midnight last night.

Local residents were evacuated from their homes. One elderly resident said “It takes me back nearly 35 years to the time when we really had bombs in Derry.

"It was very frightening for a while to think it might actually be a bomb. It's not somewhere we want to go again."

Mark Durkan, SDLP MP Foyle, said, “What we're seeing is a pathetic effort by people who couldn't offer themselves on a democratic platform in an election, and instead what they do is attack the democratic process by disrupting the count.”

He added, “They're only showing themselves up by this.”

Foyle, Derry: Pipe bomb found in car destroyed by army.