Hoax pipebomb delays polling

Conor Feehan and Ken Foy

A BOMB alert delayed voting at a Dublin polling station today.

Gardai believe that a hoax pipebomb discovered outside a city school was deliberately planted to cause disruption to voting.

Officers are now trawling through CCTV to establish who may have placed it there but are satisfied the incident has nothing to do with gang feuding in the area.

The suspect bomb disrupted election proceedings in Bluebell this morning after the device was found at the front door of the polling station.

A garda and a caretaker from Our Lady of the Wayside National School on Bluebell Road found the package at the door to the school when they were the first to arrive at 6am.

The garda raised the alarm after taking the caretaker inside the school for her safety and the army bomb squad was called to deal with the device in Dublin 12.

"I was just arriving with the garda to open the school for him when he saw the thing at the door," the caretaker told the Herald.

"He brought me inside the school, but then we had to leave by the back door after he called it in. I'm still shaking from it."

The army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit arrived at 7am and its remotely controlled robot was sent to the steps of the school to inspect the suspect package.

Meanwhile, election workers waited at a distance outside as the situation developed.

At 7.40am, a member of the bomb disposal team dressed in heavy lead and kevlar-lined suit, as well as a protective helmet, inspected the device.

When he was satisfied that the device contained no explosives he motioned to the camera on the robot that it was safe.

Gardai confirmed to the Herald that the device was a hoax, but looked realistic.

"It was designed to cause disruption but there are no explosives in it," they said.

Election workers and presiding officers were eventually let into the school at 8am, an hour after polling was due to open.