Bomb squad to deal with over 100 devices this year
THE number of bombs made safe by army personnel could exceed 100 for the first time in years.
New figures show that some 93 viable devices have been dealt with this year -- with the defence forces being called out on more than 200 occasions.
The number of viable devices made safe has risen sharply since 2008 -- when just 40 such incidents were recorded.
The latest incident took place on Thursday night, when a pipebomb exploded underneath a car in the Deerpark Close estate in Tallaght.
The defence forces are now braced for the total 2012 figure for improvised devices to exceed 100 for the first time in years.
Of the 201 callouts this year, a spokeswoman for the defence forces said that a "substantial amount" related to Dublin.
"A number this high was certainly not expected. It's been an unprecedented year for pipebombs," a source said.
According to the figures, some 70 devices were made safe last year compared to 53 in 2010. The overall figure has risen by 125pc since 2008, figures released by Justice Minister Alan Shatter reveal.
Mr Shatter said the matter was being given significant focus by gardai, adding that the bombs are often linked to "organised crime".
"The gardai are committed to eradicating this particular form of criminality and An Garda Siochana's Policing Plan 2012 sets out its commitment to pro-actively target groups and individuals engaged in serious and organised crime, including those involved with improvised explosive devices," he said.
"There are substantial Garda operations in place to tackle this problem with strategies very firmly focused on disrupting the use of pipe bombs and bringing those involved before the Courts.
"In particular, Operation Enchant was established in April 2011 to provide national coordination for investi- gations into the manufacture, supply and deployment of improvised explosive devices."
However, Fianna Fail Justice spokesperson Niall Collins said the hike in devices being found was "highly concerning".
"Any one of these bombs can cause bloodshed and pose major risks to families and communities. When you consider that just 40 devices were made safe five years ago, 93 so far is highly concerning," he told the Herald.
"These figures are revealed in the week Minister Shatter announced the crazy decision to close 100 garda stations. So it is absolutely essential that the army are given the full support to deal with these type of threats," he added.