Staff at DPD's Athlone distribution centre had to be evacuated earlier today following the discovery of a suspicious item.

The Army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team was called to the parcel distribution centre this afternoon after the item was found during a routine security and customs check by staff.

Work at the facility had to be suspended for 90 minutes.

However, operations have since returned to normal.

A spokesperson for the Army said the item was not viable.

In a statement, CEO of DPD Des Travers said the safety of staff is of "utmost importance".

He thanked the emergency services "for averting what could have been a major disaster".

Mr Travers said DPD Ireland has a contingency plan in place for such an emergency and the various elements of this plan were successfully implemented today.

Three months ago, the Army EOD team attended the same centre when historical items were found during a routine search by staff.

After an investigation, the Army said what had been found was not viable.