herald

Sunday 27 May 2018

Connolly chaos as explosives found

Members of the Army bomb disposal unit and gardai attended Connolly Station after the security alert Photo: Collins
Members of the Army bomb disposal unit and gardai attended Connolly Station after the security alert Photo: Collins

A group of Irish Rail workers clearing out an old storage unit under the railway line at Connolly Station were forced to pull back and call gardai when they discovered a box of TNT.

The incident led to one of the busiest train stations in the country - as well as several offices nearby - being evacuated, and the disruption of mainline trains until the explosives were made safe by the Army bomb disposal unit.

Sheriff Street Lower was also cordoned off while the operation was ongoing.

"The alarm was raised at around midday and we first closed platforms one and two at 12.05pm as gardai were contacted. Then we evacuated the station at 12.20pm to ensure everyone's safety," said Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny.

Gardai contacted the Army and a decision was made to send a bomb disposal unit to the scene.

The discovery of the explosives, 15 sticks of TNT, was made when one of the many storage units within the arches under the railway line at Sheriff Street was being emptied by staff.

The explosives were described as commercial in nature and had been stored in the unit for a long time, possibly years.

Some of the storage units are rented out to businesses by Irish Rail but it was not known how the explosives got there or who had stored them.

Dart and commuter trains which operate through Connolly to other stations, such as Maynooth and Drogheda, continued to run but did not stop at Connolly for almost two hours.

Alarms

Luas trams also avoided stopping at Connolly Station.

At the back of Connolly Station, people in businesses and offices were forced to leave their workplaces after evacuation protocols were initiated.

"We don't know what is happening. The fire alarms went off and we were ushered up here beyond the garda tape," said one man who was standing with his colleagues on Oriel Street.

Shortly after 2.30pm the all-clear was given. The station reopened and services resumed.

In a tweet, Irish Rail said: "Security alert lifted, Connolly Station reopening after Army attended to suspect item, historic in nature. Full services resuming, delays remaining but will ease."

The Army later issued a statement confirming a bomb squad - or Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit - attended the scene.

"The explosives were made safe at the scene and removed to a secure military installation for disposal. The scene was declared safe at 2.50pm," it said.

Meanwhile, gardai confirmed that a bomb disposal team also attended at Dublin Airport yesterday following a security alert that took place on Sunday.

A statement from Dublin Airport said: "A suspicious substance was discovered on Sunday at our security screening through a normal security check on departing passengers. All procedures were followed and the gardai were alerted.

"Following a request from the gardai as a precautionary measure, the Army deployed an EOD unit to carry out some further tests."

An Army statement said its team arrived on scene at 11.10am yesterday.

"The substance was destroyed in a secure location on site and the scene was declared safe at 1.30pm," it added.

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