Irish pilgrims evacuated in Lourdes bomb scare
Up to 30,000 pilgrims, among them more than 700 Irish, were evacuated from Lourdes yesterday after a bomb alert closed down the French shrine on one of the busiest days of the year.
Police evacuated the shrine after receiving an anonymous telephone warning that four bombs would explode at the site at 3pm local time. Tens of thousands of people were in Lourdes yesterday to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption.
A spokesperson for the Republic’s Department of Foreign Affairs said that no Irish people had been affected apart from having to evacuate.
A group of 50 pilgrims from St Patrick's Church in Lucan, Dublin, had been leaving their hotel en route for the shrine yesterday morning when they were told that the area was being closed down.
Speaking last night, Breeda Meyler, one of the group, said: “We got word in the hotel later on to say the five o'clock procession was going ahead so we're down here now heading to the crypt.
“Lourdes is very, very packed today and I think that's what they were focusing on — disrupting the afternoon.”