Category: Archive

Cathedral is target of bomb scares

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

A bomb scare rattled visitors at Manhattan’s St Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday morning and disturbed a charity musical event that had been set up to benefit the victims of last year’s Omagh bomb tragedy.

The alarm was first raised at around 11 a.m. by an official at the cathedral who spotted a suspicious looking package on one of the pews and called 911, a police spokesman said. Investigators discovered eight digital alarm clocks in different locations inside the church.

The department bomb squad and uniformed officers responded and swept the cathedral for suspicious objects. Investigators made a second run to the cathedral after more Timex digital clocks were discovered. They also found a sign which read "Homophobia wake up," said a police official who requested anonymity.

"The devices caused some concern and we evacuated the cathedral. We were forced to tie up police resources to ensure the safety of visitors and the officers," the police spokesman said. He would not comment on the investigation, except to say that the matter was still being pursued.

A number of the clocks were found just before the start of a charity concert sponsored by the Irish Echo to benefit the victims of last August’s bombing tragedy. The "Both Sides" concert, which included performances by James Galway and Phil Coulter, was a celebration of both cultures of Northern Ireland.

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Hundreds of the approximately 2,200 ticket holders were left waiting outside in the freezing drizzle as police conducted their second sweep of the cathedral just as the concert was set to open.

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