The Emergency Response Unit arrived at the west Dublin centre with at around 5pm last night and the operation came to an end shortly after 8.30pm.
Armed gardai stand down operation at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre following sighting of missing Clare teen feared armed
ARMED gardai stood down their security operation at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre last night after almost three hours - writes thesun.ie.
Cops arrived at the west Dublin shopping centre following reports that a man matching the description of a missing teenager from Clare, feared to be carrying a firearm, was spotted there.
Members of the Armed Support Unit and Emergency Response Unit were called to the scene shortly after 5pm and stunned shoppers were asked to clear out of part of the centre.
Gardai received reports that a missing 19-year-old from Ennis, Co Clare who they suspected of being armed with a firearm was in the shopping centre.
Several armed officers were pictured outside the centre’s Blue entrance, and there are multiple reports of shoppers being turned away.
At 8pm staff were allowed back in the green entrance but the shops remained closed for the night.
A large number of MMA fans were left dejected after they were unable to watch the new Conor McGregor movie.
Dozens of Notorious die-hards arrived in the shopping centre hoping to see the new McGregor documentary, which premiered this evening.
But they were left fuming when the Odeon Cinemas were shut down for the night while gardai dealt with the security incident.
Shauna Byrne, 23, was working in make up shop Inglot last night when the gardai stormed in and asked them all to leave.
She said: “The gardai just told us all to drop everything and get out.
“We’re waiting to just be let back in so we can close the shop. The lights are all still on.
“It was all very calm at the time, everyone just walked out.”
Tara O’Connor, 19, added: “I thought it was Isis, you read all about things like this.
“I was in the middle of doing some woman’s make-up and she just had to get up and leave, poor woman.
Images from the scene and surrounding area showed a large police presence throughout the area, including officers sealing off nearby roundabouts with their patrol vehicles.
One eye witness told the Irish Sun that people had been asked to leave centre.
“They came in and asked us to leave. I left the place as quickly as I could.”
Another witness said that “around a dozen armed gardai were monitoring one particular exit of the shopping centre”.
She said: “I don’t think the entire centre has been evacuated, they’re letting people walk out each of the exits and nobody from outside is being allowed in.
“All the exit doors are closed and they seem to be monitoring one exit door in particular.
“There’s around a dozen armed gardai and lots of plain uniformed officers on walkie-talkies.
“A helicopter is currently flying around the centre too.
“There’s a lot of confusion, no information is being given out so nobody really knows what’s going on.”
Another said that many children were in the centre, adding: “The whole shopping centre is being evacuated and it’s quite scary for people who have children.”
The company behind Blanchardstown Shopping Centre have confirmed that the centre will remain closed this evening following the incident.
There have been no reports of injuries following last night’s events.
Dublin Bus had earlier halted services to the Blanchardstown centre, advising that they could not service several routes to the shopping centre due to an “ongoing incident”.
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