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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Watch: Response of armed garda units tested in terrorism training exercise

The threat level in Ireland remains moderate, which means an attack is unlikely.


GARDAÍ AND OTHER emergency services this evening took part in a training exercise to help ensure they are prepared to respond to a terrorist attack involving multiple casualties.

There were around 50 people – mostly from the garda training college in Templemore – in or around a building posing as students at DCU. The exercise began just inside the entrance to the campus, where three men acting as the assailants arrived in a car and mowed down some of the students.

They then began to stab people outside one of the buildings. A local patrol car arrived, having initially been alerted to a road traffic collision, but when they realised it was potentially terror-related they called for armed back-up.

Source: Leah Farrell

First to arrive was the Armed Support Unit, which exchanged fire with the three men – one was killed.

The Emergency Response Unit arrived shortly after and the armed units moved inside the building as the two assailants took a number of people hostage in a lecture hall.

The exercise ended when armed officers moved into the room after being informed by a hostage that one of the men was dousing himself in petrol. All of the hostages in the room were saved and the two assailants were shot.

Donal O’Driscoll, garda special tactics and operations command, told reporters the exercise, which was the result of months of planning with multiple agencies, had been “extremely successful”. He said there were some issues identified, but that is the point of training like this – to learn.

O’Driscoll said An Garda Síochána is drawing on the experience and learnings of police forces that have had to deal with real terrorist attacks or mass shootings, particularly police officers in France who were involved in the response to the attack at the Bataclan theatre.

One example he gave was police having to use doors and other items to carry injured people out of the venue.

An Garda Síochána invested in special lightweight stretches, as seen in the video, that can be moved into emergency situations quickly and easily. They are also designed to allow just one person to pull them along the ground.

He said this kind of learning is helping gardaí to stay “ahead of the curve”.

O’Driscoll said the threat level in Ireland remains at moderate, which means an attack is unlikely, but possible.

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