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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Army carries out controlled explosion on suspect device as man in custody after sparking major security alert at Dublin family court

  • Man arrested after claiming to have a gun and suspect device
  • The man is believed to have been involved in a family law case which was due to be heard
  • Gardai have evacuated the courthouse
  • Large garda presence remains at the scene
Armed Gardai near a courthouse in Smithfield, Dublin .Pic: Collins
Armed Gardai near a courthouse in Smithfield, Dublin .Pic: Collins
A man is removed by Gardai from a courthouse in Smithfield, Dublin .Pic: Collins
Gardai in Smithfield Pic: Collins
Gardai at the scene in Smithfield

Catherine Devine, Shane Phelan and Rachel Farrell

A man has been arrested following a major security incident at the Family Law Courts in central Dublin.

Gardai received reports of a man armed with a firearm and a suspect device at approximately 11:30am this morning in Smithfield.

A man is removed by Gardai from a courthouse in Smithfield, Dublin .Pic: Collins
A man is removed by Gardai from a courthouse in Smithfield, Dublin .Pic: Collins

The Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team has now carried out a controlled explosion on the device and it has been removed from the scene for further examination.

It is understood the man walked into Court 32 where Judge Susan Ryan was conducting a family law sitting and started shouting.

The judge, her registrar and a number of barristers and solicitors were present at the time as were parties in a family law matter.

It is understood that the man was involved in a family law case which was due to be heard.

He is said to have produced what he claimed to be a gun, which llater transpired to be an imitation firearm.

The male has since been arrested and is currently detained at the Bridewell Garda station.

Gardai in Smithfield Pic: Collins
Gardai in Smithfield Pic: Collins

The court house was evacuated but all court sittings have since resumed.

A spokesperson for the Courts Service said: "The Courts Service is very concerned at the nature of this incident, and is thankful that all our colleagues and the public remained safe.

"This incident highlights the need to constantly keep courthouse security under review - in terms of both a Garda presence and appropriate security at each court sitting.

"When family law sittings are centralised in the planned Hammond Lane Family Law complex, airport style security will be in place. This level of security has been operational in the Four Courts and the Criminal Courts of Justice for over a decade.

"Such security measures limit the opportunity for incidents such as the one this morning".

A comprehensive search of the building was carried out involving sniffer dogs to determine if any other suspect devices have been left there.

Gardai at the scene in Smithfield
Gardai at the scene in Smithfield

Officers who were on duty at the nearby Children's Court rushed to the scene after being notified of the incident.

An eyewitness told Independent.ie he saw a woman being led out of the building in a distressed state by what appeared to be a plainclothes garda shortly before midday.

Moments later a grey haired man in his 40s was brought out of the building by two armed gardaí.

The man appeared to be handcuffed and was wearing jeans and a black jacket.

He was placed into a garda van and driven away.

The Luas Red Line has now reopened having earlier been closed.

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