THE Portlaoise mail centre had to be evacuated for about five hours last week due to a bomb scare at the busy sorting office.
The army bomb disposal team was alerted soon after 11am last Wednesday, when a number of suspect packages were found in the post.
Employees were cleared from the building and were not allowed to return until late afternoon, while the army explosive ordnance disposal team investigated the contents of the packages.
Local gardaí also attended the scene at the An Post mail centre on Fr Brown Avenue in Clonminam and the area was sealed off during the emergency.
A controlled explosion was not required and staff members were allowed to return to work soon after 4pm, once the building was declared safe by the bomb disposal team.
Following the inspection, it was found that the packages did not contain explosive devices or parts. However, gardaí are continuing to investigate the incident as the items were apparently capable of possible use in the explosives field. Gardaí have examined the suspicious packages and their contents as part of the ongoing inquiry.
The incident caused considerable delays at the mail centre, which is one of only four An Post sorting offices in the country and deals with thousands of letters and parcels from around the world daily.