Updated at 5.10pm
TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said that the Irish-linked London terror attacker who’s understood to have lived in Dublin was not under surveillance by authorities here.
Speaking to RTÉ News in Chicago this afternoon, Kenny said:
“There are a small number of people in Ireland who are being monitored and observed in respect of radicalisation and matters relevant to that.
In this case these facts are being checked but my understanding is that this individual was not a member of that small group.
Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan held a high-level meeting at the force’s HQ at the Phoenix Park in Dublin this morning.
News of that meeting emerged after the link between Ireland and one of the London attackers was first reported.
According to the Press Association, an Irish identity card was found on one of the three attackers shot dead by police on Saturday night.
It’s believed the man spent time living in Dublin, in the Rathmines area, last year.
A Garda spokesperson said this morning that the Commissioner had chaired a number of meetings of senior officers in recent weeks – without confirming whether today’s meeting was added to the schedule before or after the London attack.
An emailed statement said:
An Garda Síochána is providing every assistance to our colleagues in the London Metropolitan Police in relation to the terror attack in London.
We will process all requests from the UK authorities in relation to enquiries into individuals, identities or any other matter.
As TheJournal.ie reported last night, specialist armed Garda units have been directed to beef up security in several Irish cities.
Members of the Garda Armed Support Unit (ASU) were dispatched to the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Kilkenny, beginning their duties at 7pm last night.
While the threat of a terrorist attack in Ireland is currently deemed to be possible but unlikely, the directive comes as a proactive and preventative measure in the wake of the past fortnight’s attacks on Manchester and London.
The ASU was unveiled late last year by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald as a high-profile specialist unit, equipped with firearms and other weapons and with members trained as emergency first-responders.
Its initial focus was on high-visibility patrolling of areas of Dublin which have been vulnerable to a spate of gangland murders.
Separately, the new Fine Gael leader and likely Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has indicated that he intends to establish a cabinet level committee on national security similar to the COBRA committee in the UK within the first 50 days of Government.
London police investigating Saturday night’s terror attack, in which seven people were killed and 48 injured, have said today they know the identity of the three attackers.
The Met Police said the names would be released to the public as soon as operationally possible. Work is continuing to establish if they were working as part of a wider network.
- With reporting from Garreth MacNamee