A SECTION of one of the country's most popular beaches has had to be sealed off after a suspicious object was discovered by a tourist.
The 5ft-long cylinder was spotted on Thursday by a German on Lahinch beach, Co Clare. He reported the find to a local who informed gardai at Ennistymon. Officers went to the scene where they found the cylinder.
The Defence Forces Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team, based at Collins Barracks in Cork, had to wait until low tide yesterday before they could investigate the object.
A wide area, including all the lanes leading from the main street to the promenade, was sealed off by gardai, with armed soldiers taking up positions at access points to keep onlookers at a safe distance.
After examining the object, the EOD team prepared to carry out a controlled explosion. But after measuring and photographing the object, bomb technicians concluded it was safe. They said it was an industrial gas cylinder that posed no threat.
The Irish Coast Guard removed the heavy cylinder from the beach for safe disposal.
Several locals confirmed that they had previously seen the cylinder partially submerged in the water or protruding from the sand.