Irish Times
26 May 2012

Call-outs for Army bomb disposal teams last year were the highest in more than 30 years, new figures show.

The Army was called out 237 times last year to deal with suspected explosive devices, the largest number since 1979.

A large increase in callouts came during visits by Queen Elizabeth and US president Barack Obama. Fifty-eight of the devices discovered were deemed to be viable explosives.

The devices found include improvised mortars, often large devices capable of firing an explosive gas cylinder known as “barrack busters”, while rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and pipe bombs were also discovered by the specialised unit.

So far this year the Army has been called out 91 times and has dealt with some 32 viable explosive devices.

A total of 31 of the call-outs in 2012 were deemed hoaxes or false alarms.

“Last year was the highest number of call-outs since 1979. The number of viable improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2010 was 49 but this belies the spectrum of devices including improvised mortars, explosive components, RPGs and other IEDs dealt with by the teams that year,” the spokesman said.