Army bomb disposal team tackling criminals

One third of bomb disposal call outs relate to devices placed by criminals

Members of the Army Bomb Disposal team: According to figures released by the Army, 85 of the 250 call-outs in 2013 were to deliberately placed “improvised explosive devices” – the majority of which were in the Dublin area.  Photograph: David Sleator

Members of the Army Bomb Disposal team: According to figures released by the Army, 85 of the 250 call-outs in 2013 were to deliberately placed “improvised explosive devices” – the majority of which were in the Dublin area. Photograph: David Sleator

 

Improvised bombs placed by criminals accounted for more than one-third of all Army bomb disposal unit call-outs last year.

According to figures released by the Army, 85 of the 250 call-outs in 2013 were to deliberately placed “improvised explosive devices” – the majority of which were in the Dublin area.

The bomb disposal unit is the State’s sole agency dealing with improvised devices, responding to incidents involving explosive devices in industry, in schools and colleges and where dangerous chemicals are stored.

In addition to the unit’s work defusing landmines and bombs with peace keeping forces overseas, it is on a 24-hour call out to gardaí in dealing with explosives placed by criminals.

Members of the unit are not identified in media reports, but a senior bomb disposal operative said in 2013 that call-outs relating to criminal activity were occurring at a rate of more then one a week. He said the typical incident involved a pipe bomb left under a car or a device left at somebody’s front door.

Hoax bombs

When the number of call- outs to deal with devices which turn out to be hoax bombs are included, dealing with criminal activity accounts for up to half of the unit’s work, he said.

The Army has spent heavily in bomb disposal equipment in recent years with multi-million euro investment in upgrading titanium robots and other equipment. These six- wheeled machines are remotely controlled and are fitted with arms and cameras and X-ray equipment.

A spokesman for the Army Press office confirmed the figures and said the number of call-outs so far this year was 96, relating to 34 viable devices.