Bomb case shows we may need bus security scanners: union leader

Busaras, Dublin.
Busaras, Dublin.

The head of a large-scale trade union has suggested that a wholesale review of security should be carried out after a man was caught bringing TNT on to a Dublin-to-Derry bus.

Liam Gallagher, Irish chairman of trade union Unite and secretary of the Derry Trades Union Council, said that security measures such as scanners may now be considered after the incident.

Liam Gallagher, secretary of Derry Trades Council. (2008MM01)

Liam Gallagher, secretary of Derry Trades Council. (2008MM01)

READ MORE - Man who had explosives on Dublin to Derry bus jailed

He was speaking after Patrick Brennan, a former IRA convict from west Dublin, was jailed for his role in the explosives plot. R

In a separate case in September 2016, Vincent Kelly, a 31-year-old man formerly of Hawthorn Street in Belfast, was jailed after being caught with a PPS43 submachine gun, three magazines, and 50 rounds of ammunition shortly after getting off a Dublin-to-Belfast bus.

Mr Gallagher, whose union represents bus and transport workers among others, said: “There’s an awful lot of anger these organisations – whoever they are, dissidents or whatever they like to term themselves – were going to use public transport and endanger staff and members of the public...

“The fact he [Brennan] was actually on the bus with that amount of explosives is horrifying.

“You think of the potential of what could have happened there in terms of lives that could’ve been lost – an absolutely horrifying prospect – and I think it’s only right and proper that the public and indeed those who provide the service are given reassurance as to what’s going to happen in terms of future security.”

He added: “That may involve the possibility of looking at scanning passengers, scanning luggage... There really has to be a risk assessment carried out, an urgent risk assessment, to allay the fears of the public.” Former Mayor of Derry, Alderman Drew Thompson, said Brennan’s failed courier run could have been “catastrophic”.

“It shows you [the lengths] people will go to, to try and still take us back to what we call the dark ages; that there’s still people prepared to have destruction in our city, and cause mayhem,” he said.