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LIVE: Minister Simon Coveney whisked away due to 'security threat' as 'van hijacked' in Belfast

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Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney was reportedly ‘whisked away’ while delivering an address in North Belfast, due to a “security threat”.

Mr Coveney was speaking at The Houben Centre to address the Building Common Ground event by the John and Pat Hume Foundation, when it’s understood a “hijacked van” was driven to the site.

The room has been cleared, with those attending moved outside, while police put an exclusion zone in place.

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One of those attending the event told Belfast Live: “The event kicked off and all of a sudden Simon Coveney’s security came up and he left.

“A guy was outside who’d been badly shaken up who said that his van was hijacked and the van is in the car park now.

“A van was driven into the car park at the chapel grounds and police are all there now.”

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Police are currently in attendance of a security alert at the Crumlin Road area of North Belfast this morning (Friday 25th March).

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“Motorists are advised to avoid the area and seek alternative main routes for their journey.”

Follow our live blog below for the latest updates on this developing situation.

Key Events

  • Minister Coveney “taken to a secure location”
  • ‘Hijacked van’ the cause of security alert

Minister Coveney “taken to a secure location”

A spokesperson for the Minister said: “The minister and team are safe, have been taken to a secure location and the PSNI are doing their work.”

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‘Hijacked van’ the cause of security alert

It’s understood the van was hijacked by two to three people.

One of those attending the event told Belfast Live: “The event kicked off and all of a sudden Simon Coveney’s security came up and he left.

“A guy was outside who’d been badly shaken up who said that his van was hijacked and the van is in the car park now.

“A van was driven into the car park at the chapel grounds and police are all there now.”

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Police are currently in attendance of a security alert at the Crumlin Road area of North Belfast this morning (Friday 25th March).

“Motorists are advised to avoid the area and seek alternative main routes for their journey.”

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“I’m afraid I have to leave, I hope I’ll be back”

Mr Coveney was in the middle of speaking when he was taken away from the building.

“The Hume name deserves it’s shared place in our history. John and Pat’s vision of an unshakeable commitment to principaled an peaceful change -“

This is when advisor interrupted him, whispering in his here,

“I’m afraid I have to leave. I hope I’ll be back in a few minutes, you just have to understand that.”

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Simon Coveney evacuated in middle of speech after ‘security alert’

The Minister was in the middle of a speech when he was informed of the ‘security threat’

It is believed that a van was hijacked and driven into the car park of the centre, with the Minister’s security team coming up to him to inform him before he was whisked away from the building.

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