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Sunday, 11th April 2021

Mayor calls for checks of Oldbridge area after two mortars found in less than a week

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The second device, believed to be a mortar, which was found at Oldbridge on Friday. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson.

Mayor of Drogheda Kevin Callan has called for an area where two devices, believed to be mortars, were found to be checked in case there are more there.

The call came after the Army Bomb Disposal team had to respond to the discovery of a second device in the space of a week in the Oldbridge area of county Meath, around 4km from Drogheda.

At least one device is believed to have been located a short distance from the entrance to the Battle of the Boyne site.

The first was viable, the other was so badly water damaged that it could not be determined if it was still viable.

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A retired Garda, who worked for many years in the border area, said he believed that the second device could be a mortar warhead, similar to those used by the Provisional IRA.  

His opinion was that it was possibly part of a Mark 6 mortar which often had the explosive Semtex in them.  He said it could date from the 1980's.

In each case it is understood the alarm was raised by well intentioned members of the public who happened upon the devices by chance.

The first one was found over the Easter weekend, the other on Friday last when Gardai were alerted by Meath County Council.

It has emerged that the second device had been moved from Oldbridge by an unsuspecting member of the public to a location at Beamore, south of Drogheda.  At that point the alarm was raised.

In each case Gardai requested the assistance of the Army Bomb Disposal Team who subsequently carried out controlled explosions on them.

Mayor of Drogheda Kevin Callan: “These objects are a thing from our past and hurt enough people in previous times. It is important they do no more harm to anyone in our community.” 

The Defence Forces Press Office said, ‘should members of the public encounter suspicious items, or hazardous substances, they are advised to maintain a safe distance and inform An Garda Síochána.’

The area around Oldbridge is extremely popular with the boardwalk linking it with Drogheda and the Battle of the Boyne site used for walking and running, when permitted, during lockdown.  The Boyne river, beside the canal, is also used for angling.

The Mayor of Drogheda said, “it is essential the area is thoroughly checked by military and civil authorities to ensure no further such devices are present.”

“All community volunteers must be notified to not conduct cleaning or clearing of effected areas.  Both Louth and Meath County Councils need to erect signage to that effect as well urgently.”

“These objects are a thing from our past and hurt enough people in previous times. It is important they do no more harm to anyone in our community,” he added.

This article was written by Elaine Keogh

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