Bullet casing found next to Kenny stage at Fine Gael Ard Fheis
By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Political Reporter
Fine Gael officials were forced to evacuate the conference hall where Taoiseach Enda Kenny will give his opening Ard Fheis speech this evening after what appeared to be an empty shotgun shell next to the stage.
Garda sources said that the empty shotgun shell was found behind the main stage shortly after 2pm. Officers from Clondalkin garda station were then called to the City West venue.
There was no gun powder in the shell, which is believed to be from a shotgun. However, a garda crime scene examiner took photos of the find and area.
The discovery led to a busy room full of delegates and back-room officials being ordered to leave the facility for just under an hour by security personnel.
Mr Kenny was not in the large conference hall at the time. He arrived just after 5pm before his opening speech in the two-day party event at 7.30pm tonight.
The cartridge was left next to the stage area where the Taoiseach will appear this evening.
Security at the Ard Fheis is notably higher than last week when the same location hosted the one-day Fianna Fáil conference on Saturday.
It is expected that elements of the national water protest in Dublin city are likely to appear at the event tomorrow, while a number of driveways within the hotel campus were blocked off with barriers this evening due to the Ard Fheis taking place.