Garda station evacuated in anthrax alert

A garda station was evacuated in an anthrax alert after a suspicious package was discovered at the International Financial Services Centre, it emerged today.

Detectives at Store Street in Dublin had been alerted to the package by a company working in the financial district.

The package was removed to the garda station and an emergency evacuation of the 20 staff in the detective unit was ordered after they opened the envelop and saw white powder inside.

The Army Bomb Disposal unit, which has expertise in chemical devices, was called in when the package was opened last Thursday.

“It wasn’t felt that the device was of any major significance. Our people confirmed what the Gardai suspected, that it wasn’t a viable device, that it was just someone who took fright at white powder,” said Defence Forces spokesman Comdt Brian Cleary.

He said the powder was not a chemical device and added that the all-clear had been given shortly afterwards.

Anthrax is among the most feared of biological weapons because once the spores from the bacteria have lodged in the lung and caused an infection, nine out of 10 patients die.

The anthrax attacks in the USA in the wake of September 11 led to a wave of alerts in Ireland in 2001, with 16 suspect packages sent to a variety of addresses, including Pearse Street Garda station in Dublin.

But the tests for anthrax bacteria all proved negative, and there have been few reports of similar devices since.


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