Bomb defused, two alerts ahead of queen's Ireland visit

17th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Irish soldiers defused a bomb near Dublin ahead of a historic visit by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II scheduled to start Tuesday, Irish police and the military said.

A controlled explosion was also carried out on a suspect package on Dublin's light railway system Tuesday but it was found to be a false alarm, as was another suspect package found in the city on Monday, officials said.

"A viable explosive device was found on a bus yesterday evening in Maynooth," near Dublin, a police spokesman told AFP, adding that police had been tipped off by an anonymous call.

The device was defused by the Irish army, he said.

Reports said the device was found in the luggage compartment of the bus and around 30 passengers were evacuated.

The bus had been heading to the centre of Dublin, where the queen was to perform the first official duties of her visit on Tuesday.

An Irish defence forces spokesman confirmed that an army bomb disposal squad had made safe "a viable improvised device" early Tuesday at Maynooth in County Kildare.

"We can't give any details about the device but it was viable. It was on a bus and by the time our team was called in the bus was evacuated and parked at a bus stop," the spokesman said.

"The device was made safe in situ," he added.

In the second incident, the army spokesman said a "limited controlled explosion" was carried out on a suspicious package found near a station on the LUAS light rail system in Inchicore, a west Dublin suburb, early Tuesday.

Police said the rail service was shut for about two hours and roads were sealed off while the package was investigated. It was found to be a hoax, a police spokeswoman said.

The army was also called out to a "suspect device" left on a footpath in central Dublin on Monday morning, the spokeswoman said.

The army "examined the device and declared it a hoax," she said, adding that the object was passed to the police for investigation.

The queen's visit, the first by a British monarch to Ireland since independence in 1922, is surrounded by a massive security operation amid the threat of Irish republican terrorism.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said there was no chance the visit would be cancelled despite the discovery of the bomb, adding that police and the army had dealt with it in an "appropriate and efficient manner."

"Obviously when this visit was first indicated to Buckingham Palace and they responded to the president's invitation there would be no going back on that," Kenny told RTE state radio.

"This is an historic and symbolic visit and it is dealing with the conclusion of the past and a message for the future," he added.

"These things happen when global personalities visit any countries... and whether it be Ireland or other countries, adequate security arrangements are put in place."

Britain's Foreign Office and Buckingham Palace, the queen's official residence, both confirmed the queen's visit would carry on.

"Nothing has changed, the state visit is still going ahead," a Foreign Office spokesman told AFP.

British police said they had received a bomb threat for central London from Irish dissident republicans on Monday.

© 2011 AFP

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