At an event dedicated to the peace process, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was evacuated following the sounding of a security alarm.
It’s a joke, probably in very bad taste. As the head of diplomacy gave a speech on March 25 at the Houben Center in Belfast, an alarm went off. The Northern Irish police then proceeded to evacuate the minister and his team, before declaring a security incident. But “after examination”, the investigators managed to establish that the suspicious object discovered on the spot was in fact a “hoax”.
This is the moment Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney was told by his security of a bomb threat as he was mid-speech at a peace-building event in Belfast.
ITV News understands a van was hijacked with the driver held at gunpointhttps://t.co/0sxfeb9vT4 pic.twitter.com/iSZKdv0L6N
—ITV News (@itvnews) March 25, 2022
According to the first elements of the investigation, the investigations would be directed towards the trail of loyalist paramilitaries. The object would thus have been intended to create “maximum disturbances”.
In addition, according to information from the ITV channel, a van was hijacked and its driver forced at gunpoint to drive the vehicle to the community center where Simon Coveney was.
On Twitter, the minister said he was “saddened and frustrated that someone was attacked”.
In Belfast with @Humefoundation to honor John & Pat’s legacy of peace for all communities. Saddened & frustrated that someone has been attacked & victimized in this way and my thoughts are with him & his family. My thanks to@PoliceServiceNIhttps://t.co/bs9LvTKBHW
—Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) March 25, 2022
The incident comes as the terror alert level in Northern Ireland was lowered on March 22 from “serious” to “substantial” for the first time since 2010.