Hoax bomb threats to Irish schools follow British alerts

Hundreds of Limerick children evacuated from national school after hoax bomb alert

Bomb threats have been made to schools in Ireland, following media reports of similar threats made to schools in England on Monday. File photograph: Getty Images

Bomb threats have been made to schools in Ireland, following media reports of similar threats made to schools in England on Monday. File photograph: Getty Images

 

A series of hoax bomb threats have been made to schools in Ireland, North and South, following media reports of similar threats made to schools in England on Monday.

Hundreds of Limerick children were evacuated from a national school there today after a hoax bomb alert there.

Meanwhile, the PSNI said it dealt with incidents of hoax bomb calls at a total of seven schools in Northern Ireland this morning.

The alarm was raised at the Limerick school after a message was sent at about 10.30am falsely claiming there was a device in Milford National School.

After an “automated” message was received, hundreds of schoolchildren were immediately evacuated from the Limerick school as an immediate precaution.

Three units of Limerick City Fire and Rescue were deployed to the scene along with gardaí and emergency paramedics.

The area was cordoned off as gardaí thoroughly searched the area.

Upwards of 20 gardaí searched as children remained off the premises.

Parents of children affected were kept updated via text messages, which confirmed all children and staff were safe and enjoying sunshine outside.

Gardaí advised it was safe to re-enter the school at 11.45am and all children returned to classes.

Regarding the Northern Ireland incidents, PSNI Chief Supt Garry Eaton said between 9am and 10am the schools, all of which were primary schools, had received calls claiming explosive devices had been placed at each location.

Local police responded immediately, working with individual school authorities to establish what the circumstances of the calls were and to put appropriate procedures in place to ensure the safety of pupils and staff.

“Some schools opted to evacuate pupils, in line with their own protocols,” he said.

‘Worrying situation’

“This was obviously a very serious and worrying situation, particularly for the parents of pupils at the schools, however , after thorough police searches of all of the schools, no devices were found.”

The PSNI is exploring a possible link to similar calls received by schools in Great Britain on Monday.

Mr Eaton continued: “A link is obviously a strong line of inquiry and we will be working closely with our colleagues in the other police services concerned to establish if there is any definite connection between their calls and ours - and we will continue to liaise with them as appropriate as we take our investigation forward.”

The PSNI said there was nothing to suggest the incidents were terrorism related.

The PSNI urged anyone with information to contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

There had been media reports on Monday that some 27 schools across Britain were plunged into chaos during GCSE exams by a series of bomb threats.

Thousands of pupils were reportedly evacuated in schools from Kent to Newcastle after anonymous phone calls.

At one school, “repeated” calls warned of a bomb on site and that “shrapnel will take children’s heads off”.

One school official said a threatening message was pre-recorded and featured an American voice which looped three times over a minute and a half.

Searches had revealed no explosive devices.

Additional reporting: Press Association