herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Bomb threats to Afternoon Show cause panic among terrified RTE staff

THERE was panic on RTE'S Afternoon Show after two anonymous callers phoned in bomb threats to Montrose studios.

Staff on the show -- hosted by Maura Derrane and Sheana Keane -- were left shaken after the hoax calls were received by members of the research team.

The Herald can reveal that gardai had to be called to Montrose studios shortly after lunchtime last Wednesday in order to declare the locality safe following the false bomb scares.

A thorough search of the premises was carried out by the national broadcaster's security team, along with a number of gardai, before the daily programme could be allowed go to air.

In response to the hoax phonecalls, staff members on The Afternoon Show team alerted RTE's security team immediately, who decided to involve the authorities.

"They received the first phonecall to the Afternoon Show studio claiming that a bomb had been planted there just a couple of hours before they were due to go on air," said a show insider.

"They initially didn't take it seriously but when a second call followed they began to get worried.

"Naturally all safety procedures had to be followed and security and later the gardai were informed of the calls."

The source added: "The police came to check out the studios and interviewed some of the staff working on the show and an area had to be cleared completely while they carried out the search.

"After thoroughly checking out the area where the programme is filmed live everyday and the space surrounding it, they concluded that it was a hoax and told producers they could proceed as normal with the show.

"Luckily for RTE the calls came early enough to deal with before the show goes out at 4.30 and they were able to go out live as planned."

Those working on the show are said to have been thoroughly spooked by the calls, given that two came together in such close proximity.

An investigation is now underway as to where the hoax bombscare calls originated from.

Montrose bosses were initially keen to keep the matter under wraps for fear of causing unnecessary fear among staff at the station.



alert

But when contacted by the Herald, a spokesperson for the show confirmed that a security alert had taken place.

"RTE can confirm that two hoax calls were received today, Wednesday 10 March, claiming that a bomb had been set in RTE," a spokesperson for the station said last night.

"RTE Security, accompanied by gardai, implemented a pre-existing emergency plan.

"Evacuations were unnecessary and transmission was unaffected," they added.

When contacted the Garda Press Office referred the Herald to RTE.

lnolan@herald.ie

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