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Senior gardaí claim armed units could respond to O'Connell Bridge terror attack within eight minutes

The Commissioner today said the force is taking our national security very seriously.

Image: Eamonn Farrell

SENIOR GARDAÍ HAVE said they are confident that armed units of our police force could respond to a terror attack in Dublin city centre as quickly as the MET police in London did last week.

The Garda Commissioner faced questions from the press today and said that the Armed Support Unit (ASU) will increase by 20 officers to 75 in total by 22 June coming and said officers are liaising with their international counterparts in a bid to safeguard the country.

She added that there is currently “a competition underway to increase the ASU right around the country to make sure there is a 24/7 response around the country”.

On Sunday, TheJournal.ie revealed how specialist armed garda units were directed to beef up security in several Irish cities in the wake of the attacks.

Last week, the Met police responded to the London terror attack and had killed the three terrorists within eight minutes. Gardaí believe that a similar time can be expected here.

Speaking at Farmleigh House in Dublin, Assistant Commissioner John Twomey said:

We did a paper exercise to see what our response would be. We are happy we would have nine armed units in the city centre and that a response would have been a similar time to that of the UK.

The London Met has more than 33,000 officers and polices an area of around 620 square miles with a population of 7.2 million.

The Commissioner said that the force has focussed “very strongly” on making sure they engage with minority communities since the Bataclan attack in Paris three years ago. She added that terrorism “is not about religion” and that “we should not link terrorism to any specific religion”.

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She also took the opportunity to ask anyone who has any specific concerns about neighbours, family members or associates who could have been radicalised to contact gardaí confidentially.

She added: “We take our national security very seriously. We continuously review threat assessment and our response capabilities. Within an hour of the incident (London) happening, we were in touch with our intelligence and law enforcement counterparts to assess if there is any Irish link.”

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