Aaron O’Neill, 20, had been out all night drinking and taking tablets with his friend Colin Hammond, 21, when at 6 am he realised that he really didn’t want to work for Intel that day.
He paid his friend to make the call from a payphone outside Hammond’s home. Hammond told the operator there were bombs located at Intel which would go off in 12 hours.
“You will not find them. This is a warning, we’re everywhere now.”
When asked who was making the call, he replied: “Islamic State”. With hindsight this might have seemed a bit strange. Islamic State’s Dublin branch does not feature in the news much, and IS don’t normally warn the authorities before setting off their bombs. Still this was Ireland and bomb threats are taken pretty seriously.
The call meant that a motorway was shut down, air traffic was disrupted and 4,000 Intel staff could not go to work.
A police spokesman said that at a “conservative estimate” the incident lost Intel 6,000 hours of production. Needless to say, O’Neill is not getting much contract work from Chipzilla these days.
O’Neill and Hammond pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to making a false report on the Bath Road on January 13th 2015. Neither have previous convictions.
Described by Judge Martin Nolan as “profoundly stupid”, Hammond claimed he had been paid to make the call. He was ordered to carry out 200 hours community service in lieu of a two-year prison sentence when his case was dealt with in October.
On Tuesday Judge Nolan said he saw “no reason to depart from the same sentence” for O’Neill but adjourned the case to January to get a report from the Probation Service to see if he was suitable for community service.
“It is a very, very strange way to avoid going to work,” Judge Nolan said.
A month after the hoax, a taxi man arrived at Balbriggan Garda station with a passenger who wouldn’t pay his fare. A copper at the station recognised Hammond’s voice from a tape of the hoax call.