Two local men have been arrested following the discovery of a viable explosive device in the Monksland area of Athlone on Tuesday this week.
The first arrest, of a local man in his 20s, took place on Tuesday afternoon, while the second arrest, of another local man in his 20s, took place on Wednesday afternoon.
Army bomb disposal experts were called to the scene early on Tuesday morning after Gardaí were alerted to the presence of a suspicious device in the Slí an Choiste estate in Monksland. Gardaí have confirmed that the device, likely to have been a pipe bomb, was a viable explosive device.
The discovery was made outside a private residence in Slí an Choiste shortly after 9am on Tuesday.
Several houses and a childcare facility in the vicinity were evacuated as gardaí and the Army’s bomb disposal unit arrived on the scene, and the area was cordoned off.
The bomb disposal team, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit from Custume Barracks, examined the device, and removed it to a nearby location. It was made safe through a controlled explosion in an area of wasteland in the Athlone area.
The scene was declared safe at around 10.30am, and residents were allowed to return to their homes.
The two men arrested in connection with the incident were still being detained in Athlone Garda Station yesterday (Thursday ) for questioning. Both were detained under Section 30 of the Offences against the State Act 1939.
Gardai say they are still conducting enquiries into the incident. Anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious in the area is asked to contact Athlone Garda Station at (090 ) 6492600.