uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more »
Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 25 March, 2018

Mobile phone networks could be shut off during G8 due to terror threats

If amendments to legislation are approved, Minister Shatter said that mobile phone companies will be able to shut down networks in areas during the G8.

A Metropolitan Police handout of a mobile phone intended to be used as part of a car bomb in London's West End.
A Metropolitan Police handout of a mobile phone intended to be used as part of a car bomb in London's West End.
Image: Metropolitan Police/PA Archive/Press Association Images

NEW LAWS COULD see mobile phone networks shut down in certain areas during the G8 summit due to the threat of terrorist activity.

Minister for Justice and Defence Alan Shatter told the Select Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality today that the proposed amendments to the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Bill 2013 came about because of the possibility of terrorist activity when the G8 takes place in Fermanagh in June.

He said that he intends to introduce amendments to “deal with threat to life and property posed by explosive devices which make use of mobile communications technology in their construction or activation”.

Prevent death or damage

Shatter described the purpose of the amendments as allowing for “direction to issue to mobile phone services providers to cease service provision in a limited area in order to prevent death or damage to property”.

The provision will contain safeguards to ensure that any interference with services is limited to the extent necessary to deal with the threat, he added.

In order for the full house to have an opportunity to consider these new elements, the amendments will be introduced at report stage on 22 May.

As these provisions are outside the scope of the current title of the bill, the title will also have to be amended.

The reason behind the legislation, said Shatter, is that it is “possible that terrorist groups may try to use the occasion of the summit to at the very least garner publicity for themselves”.

He said that there is also a “real danger of loss of life if such a device was successfully detonated”.


In 2012, Pakistan blocked its mobile phone service during Eid to prevent possible terror attacks. Mobile phones have been used to detonate bombs in some countries, including Madrid in 2004.

In 2003, the FBI said that it found bombs that were detonated by remote control in Saudi Arabia, while in 2002 a Jersusalem bombing was detonated using a call from a mobile phone.

It was also investigated whether a bomb planted in Belfast in March of this year could have been detonated by mobile phone.

Read: Michelle Obama and daughters set to visit Ireland>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

Leave a commentcancel