€18k award for man in botched airport terror test

THE innocent passenger who was caught up in a dramatic terrorist threat emergency in central Dublin after Slovakian police placed a bomb in his luggage has received €18,000 in compensation.

The Irish Examiner has established that Stefan Gonda was given the sum of money from the Slovakian government as a direct result of the botched airport police security test which put his life in danger.

In early January, gardaí raided Mr Gonda’s home on Dorset Street in central Dublin, where they found explosives and arrested the 49-year-old electrician.

After receiving a call from the Slovakian authorities, it emerged that Mr Gonda was not involved in any criminal scenario and that the bomb had been placed in his luggage by police in his homeland as part of an airport security test.

The mistake occurred at the Poprad airport in eastern Slovakia when, during police dog training, an officer placed the explosives in the passenger’s bag.

While the police dog did not identify the object, the officer failed to remove the bomb, allowing it to be placed on board the flight to Dublin.

To add to the incident, he then failed to inform those in charge of security at the airport for a full 48 hours of his mistake.

This worsened the crisis and led to gardaí mistakenly believing that Mr Gonda deliberately brought the object into the country.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the Slovakian government declined to reveal how much the 49-year-old Dublin-based electrician would be paid for the damages caused to him during the ordeal.

However, reports in Slovakia this week confirmed that a total of €18,000 was provided to Mr Gonda.

The country’s interior minister, Christian Democratic Movement KDH party member Daniel Lipsic, did not say how this figure was calculated.

It is not yet known whether the Slovakian police officer at the centre of the scandal or his supervisors will be fined or prosecuted over the incident, which led to severe international condemnation of security standards at the Slovakian airport.

The police inspection report into the situation has concluded that the officer did not cause the problem deliberately.

However, Tibor Mako, who at the time was chief of the Slovakian border and foreigner police, has since been sacked due to the botched test.


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