Saturday 20 July 2019

'ISIS' message and white powder spark hospital terror alert

St Loman's Hospital, Mullingar
St Loman's Hospital, Mullingar

Mark O'Regan and Gareth Morgan

Staff at a psychiatric hospital were evacuated after a white substance was handed in along with a note mentioning terror group 'ISIS'.

A member of the administrative staff at St Loman's in Mullingar opened a packet which was addressed to "medical staff".

The package contained the powder, along with a written note which warned: "ISIS is going to get you".

The chilling message and contents of the package immediately sparked a major alert.

Gardaí were called and quickly moved to seal off the main building - which houses only administrative staff - amid concern of a biological or chemical threat.

Staff there were effectively quarantined while the rest of the building was evacuated at around 4pm.

A cordon was put in place and traffic diversions implemented around the hospital, which is located to the north-east of the midlands town and is not far from the N4.

The Army Bomb Disposal unit from Athlone arrived to the building at 5.30pm to examine and dispose of the powder.

The cordon was lifted and about 10 staff released from quarantine at about 8pm as it emerged the incident was a hoax.

Scare

However gardaí have seized the contents of the package for further examination.

Gardaí last night confirmed that the incident was a hoax, but are continuing to investigate the scare.

A spokeswoman for the HSE told the Irish Independent that a suspect package had been handed in.

"A small number of staff were evacuated as a precaution and no patients were affected."

Irish Independent

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