The scene at a Tuam estate earlier today (Wednesday) Photo: Ray Ryan

Investigation after ‘viable device’ left under family car

Evacuated residents return home after bomb disposal experts ensure scene safe

GARDAÍ are investigating an incident in which a viable device was left under a family’s car outside their home in a Tuam estate.

Residents of the Cuirt na Cora estate on the Weir Road were evacuated from their homes early on Wednesday morning, after the alarm was raised by Martina Ward, who had heard a bang outside her house in the middle of the night.

Gardai arriving on the scene called for the Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit from Athlone to examine the device that had been left under the rear wheel of the car.

A bomb detection robot was deployed as part of the extensive examination of the area, which was cordoned off for several hours, impacting residents of nearby Millstream Park also.

A viable device, that had already exploded, was found at the scene and officers conducted a post bomb analysis before the cordon was lifted and residents allowed return to their homes. The unit left the scene this afternoon and removed what has been deemed to be a viable explosive device from the location.

Mother was terrified

Martina Ward, who is three months pregnant with her fourth child, told The Tuam Herald that she was terrified of what those responsible for the device would do next.

“I heard a big bang at about 2.50am but when my husband and I ran down and looked out we couldn’t see anything,” she said.

“I got up to get my kids ready for school and the force of whatever had happened in the middle of the night had blown the hub cap off the back passenger wheel of the car on to the road. My registration plate was also out on the road and the bumper was hanging off. My elderly front neighbour’s window was damaged, so the detectives think all the damage was caused by the device partially exploding.

“Nobody is taking this seriously and I’m afraid it will take someone to be seriously hurt before anyone will help me,” added Martina.

Residents unhappy with anti-social behaviour

Several residents complained that the incident was the latest in a series of anti-social and dangerous behaviour in the area and have called on the Gardaí to carry our regular patrols of the estate.

“This is the final straw for a lot of us, and we need Galway County Council to move us to safer accommodation,” said one woman, who has lived in the estate for over two years.

Another mother said she can no longer stay in her home with her young daughter over safety concerns.

“I am paying rent on a house I can’t live in and when I ring the Gardaí to report anti-social and downright dangerous activity, I’m told they’re too busy to come down,” she said.

Gardai appeal for information

The Gardai are appealing to anyone who was in the vicinity of Millstream Park or Weir Road in Tuam on the night of Tuesday May 11, 2021 up to 8.30am Wednesday morning, May 12 and who may have information to make contact with them at Tuam Garda Station on (093) 70840.

A Garda spokesperson stated: “Anyone who has video footage, including dash cam footage in these areas, which may be of assistance is asked to also contact Tuam Garda Station.”