Five young men arrested in Waterford City on Tuesday evening following the discovery of an explosive device in Catherine Street are likely to be charged in connection with the matter.
The men, all believed to be in their twenties, were released on Wednesday and a garda spokesman confirmed that files were being prepared for submission to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
There is general belief that the incident, which led to Catherine Street being closed to traffic and its occupants evacuated, is linked to the ongoing local Traveller feud involving shootings, other serious assaults and car rammings. The garda spokesman, however, would not go beyond saying there was “possibly” a connection.
Tuesday’s sinister development – the device was found around 1 pm in a Ford Focus car parked outside the city fire station – led to the station staff
being moved to Bolton Street and a sitting of the District Court nearby being adjourned for safety reasons. A large group of Travellers were in the vicinity of the court where six men were due to appear on charges arising from the Traveller feud.
Army bomb disposal experts dismantled the device, described as a type of pipe bomb, before handing it over to the gardai for forensic examination. The results of that examination were still awaited last (Thursday) night.
There was a similar scenario last Friday
evening when, through
peak evening traffic, Grattan Quay was blocked off by gardai as army personnel again checked out a suspect device located along that route.
With frustration among the public on the rise, a special meeting of the City Council was convened last Monday evening to discuss the subject after charges against seven alleged protagonists in the Travellers row were struck out in the District Court. That followed a delay on
the part of the DPP in bringing proceedings against the men.
The Council meeting was addressed by Chief Garda Supt Pat Murphy who updated the members on the situation.
Commenting on Tuesday’s events, former Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Tom Cunningham, said those responsible had no respect for the public, the gardai or for law and order. “It is pure and utter gangsterism and the gardai are frustrated for want of tougher laws to deal with what is an intolerable situation”, he said.
At the same time he had every faith that they would eventually get into court those driving the feud and he said that like all right-minded citizens he was totally behind them in their efforts towards that end.