Minister’s speech halted after ‘van hijacked’ in security threat in Belfast

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Police have raced to the scene of
Police have raced to the scene of “security threat” in Belfast

A minister has been bundled off stage while delivering a speech with reports saying a van had been hijacked nearby.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was rushed away by officials in the middle of this speech after the event organizer raised the alarm over a suspect device found in the car park.

Mr Coveney was speaking at The Houben Center to address the Building Common Ground event by the John and Pat Hume Foundation, when it’s understood a “hijacked van” was driven to the site, belfastlive.

The driver was held at gunpoint with something put in the back and told to drive the center, UTV reports.

Tim Attwood, secretary of the Hume Foundation, told Reuters at the scene, said: “There is a security alert and the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) are currently assessing the situation. Everyone has had to evacuate the centre.”

The room has been cleared, with those attending moved outside, while police put an exclusion zone in place.







Irish Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, was delivering an address in Belfast this morning
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Image:

Mateusz Marek/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Police are still at the scene and have advised motorists to seek alternative routes.

Mr Coveney was giving a talk that are part of a series of conversations on how to improve relationships in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and with the UK.

One of those attending the event told belfastlive: “The event kicked off and all of a sudden Simon Coveney’s security came up and he left.

“A guy was outside who’d been badly shaken up who said that his van was hijacked and the van is in the car park now.

“A van was driven into the car park at the chapel grounds and police are all there now.”

Alliance Councillor, Nuala McAllister, tweeted: “This is a worrying situation in North Belfast, hoping everyone has been moved safely.

“Selfish dangerous individuals causing fear at a time when building common ground is the way forward, endorsed by all.”

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Police are currently in attendance of a security alert at the Crumlin Road area of ​​North Belfast this morning (Friday 25th March).

“Motorists are advised to avoid the area and seek alternative main routes for their journey.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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