Firearm and suspect device seized at Smithfield court
Pic:RollingNews.ie

20 Dec 2018 / courts Print

Army carry out controlled explosion at family court

The Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team carried out a controlled explosion on a suspect device in Smithfield, Dublin 7 this afternoon.

The device has now been removed from the scene for further examination. A man arrested in connection with this incident remains in Garda custody at the Bridewell Garda station.

Gardaí attended the scene of an incident at a family law court in Smithfield, Dublin 7, this morning and the area was cordoned off.

Reports were received of a male armed with a firearm and a suspect device at 11.30am today. The middle-aged man dropped an imitation firearm when armed officers approached him.

Army

The imitation firearm (pending examination) has been seized. The Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team attended the scene to examine the suspect device.

The courthouse was evacuated and investigations are ongoing.

Judge Raymond Groarke (President of the Circuit Court) expressed relief that no harm had come to the judge who was presiding over the court at the time, Judge Susan Ryan.

Cancelled

All further sittings in Phoenix House in Smithfield – where circuit court family law cases are heard – were cancelled for the rest of the day.

A spokesman for the Courts Service commented that the incident underlined the need to continually reappraise the levels of security at the family courts.

He said that the planned new family law courts complex, off Church Street in Dublin, which is currently awaiting approval from the Government, would have airport-style security at all entrances.

This level of security has been operational in the Four Courts and the Criminal Courts of Justice for over a decade. 

Incidents

Such security measures limit the opportunity for incidents such as the one this morning, the spokesman said.

“We are awaiting the all clear from An Garda Síochána before re-opening the building. All staff, members of the public, and judges left the building safety,” the spokesman 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. 

Security
“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."

Justice minister Charlie Flanagan said he noted the incident with great concern.

“While thankful that nobody involved was injured, I am nonetheless conscious of the impact on the judge, court personnel and all others who were in the court at the time.

“The security of the courts and the safety of all who use the courts is a matter of the highest priority for me.  The courts play a fundamental role in our justice system and must always be able to operate without hindrance,” the minister said.

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