WATCH: Dramatic moment Coveney is evacuated mid-speech after bomb alert

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, was forced to abruptly abandon a speech he was delivering at a peace event in Belfast after being told of a bomb scare.

Coveney was pulled out by his security team mid-way through his speech.

The Minister was delivering the keynote address at the Building Common Ground event organised by the John and Pat Hume Foundation.

ā€œIā€™m afraid I have to leave. I hope I’ll be back in a a few minutes,ā€ he told the crowd before being quickly whisked away.

The alarm was raised after a white van was hijacked in the Tennent Street area in Belfast. The driver was held at gunpoint and a device placed in the back. The shocked man was then told to head for the venue where the event was held.

The van was left abandoned in the grounds of Holy Cross Church, interrupting plans for a funeral which was due to take place.

In a tweet, Mr Coveney said he was “saddened and frustrated” by the incident.

Chris Page, BBC’s correspondent in the area, later tweeted that a controlled explosion had been carried out in North Belfast.

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