The Department of Health in Dublin has been cleared to reopen after a suspicious package led to its evacuation this morning.

The package was suspected of containing a white powder and precautions were taken in case it may have been hazardous material.

The Defence Forces have said the envelope containing a powder was inspected on-site and deemed non-hazardous by technicians.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Defence Forces said the envelope and its contents had been handed over to An Garda Síochána and that the scene was declared safe at 2.30pm.

Gardaí sealed off the area around Baggot Street and emergency services were called to the department's building at 11.25am.

The Army Bomb Disposal Team and specialist units from Dublin Fire Brigade were at the scene, including seven fire units and a chemical incident unit.

Traffic was closed in both directions from Fitzwilliam Place East to the canal and diversions were in place.

However, those restrictions have mainly been lifted, with just one lane closed nearest the building.

The department, which earlier said workers should go home for the day, said that the building was cleared and staff could return to work as required.

Following the incident, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described people who send such packages to Government departments as "oddballs" and said his main concern was for staff handling post. 

"I don't know what sort of oddballs send suspicious packages in the post but they should be well aware that it is not the politicians who are going to open the mail," he said.

He added: "It's going to be the receptionist, the security guard, the clerical officer or someone working on the constituency team.

"If you want to come after us, come after us but don't come after our staff or our families."