Suspicious package sent to Alan Kelly's office declared a hoax
A package containing white powder which was sent to Environment Minister Alan Kelly's constituency office has been declared a hoax.
The alarm was raised after a letter sent to the building on Summerhill in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, was opened by a member of staff.
The Defence Forces' bomb squad was called in by gardai and declared the scene safe within an hour of arriving.
"The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team was called to deal with what is described as a letter containing suspicious material. The EOD team arrived on scene at 12.40 pm and following an examination declared the letter and material a hoax," they said.
Mr Kelly was not in the office at the time and it was closed during the scare.
He has spoken openly about threats made against him personally since he took over the environment portfolio and pressed ahead with the roll-out of controversial water charges.
A bomb scare threat was phoned in to his constituency office last year and a death threat was also made against him, while the minister has said other threats have been made against his wife, family and staff.
Mr Kelly said sending the white powder was a deplorable act.
"It is not something any office of any occupation should have to deal with at any time," he said.
"I will not be making any further comment other than to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the constituency office staff who regrettably have to encounter such instances. My primary concern is for their health and safety."
The alarm was raised at 9.05am and the bomb squad declared it safe at 1.30pm after spending under an hour at the office.