| 15.7°C Dublin

Families flee in bomb terror alert

HOUSES were evacuated when a suspect device was found in the garden of a house in Tallaght.

Gardai called out an Army bomb disposal team after the suspect package was found under a tree at Donaghmore Crescent last night.

A Garda spokesman confirmed that houses in the immediate vicinity were evacuated as the Army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal experts examined the device.

A Defence Forces spokesman said the bomb disposal team arrived at the scene at 11.30pm and declared it safe shortly afterwards. The device turned out to be a hoax and people were allowed to return to their homes.

It has been a busy year for the Army's bomb experts, who have dealt with a range of problems ranging from real IEDs (improvised explosive devices) to old munitions and attacks on head shops. The experts, drawn from the Army's Ordnance Corps, deploy sophisticated techniques, including robots, to assess the threat when they arrive at a potential bomb scene.

Earlier this month, the Army dealt with an IED that had partially detonated and was handed to gardai in Finglas station by a member of the public.

In March, an EOD team carried out a controlled explosion in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, outside a head shop after a device had been left outside it.

They also frequently deal with pipe bombs used by feuding criminals in Dublin and Limerick to settle drug disputes.

The EOD experts also dealt with an under car bomb in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, earlier this year. It is believed the bomb had been attached underneath a car in Greystonees and had been carried for up to three miles before it was discovered.

Many homemade IEDs turn out to be poorly made and often fail to detonate, but they still pose a serious threat to bomb disposal officers.

Some, however, are well put together, including one at the rear of a private house in Ashbourne, Co Meath, in 2008.

The Army bomb disposal officer sent in a robot to examine it because he was unable to see the device properly in the dark.

As he was about to approach the device, it went off and blew out the back door of the house. It had been put together by a skilled bombmaker.