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Armed special garda unit Eamonn Farrell
Terror Threat

Ireland's terrorism threat assessment under continuous review following Manchester attack

The meeting between a variety of state departments assessed the situation here.

Updated 12.30.

THE GARDAÍ AND the Defence Forces are working to prevent any attack here and detailed preparations have been made in the event of one.

A special meeting to assess how prepared Ireland is in relation to terrorist threats heard that our threat assessment will remain under continuous review.

The meeting was held in the wake of the Manchester terrorist attack to review the state’s arrangements and level of preparedness in the event of an attack.

The Taoiseach and Tanaiste, along with a number of other ministers, were briefed on the threat assessment by security authorities.

It was noted that while a terrorist attack here is possible it is unlikely and there is no specific information in relation to any threat to Ireland from international terrorism.

Security authorities indicated that they remain in daily contact with their counterparts in the UK, the EU and beyond.

However, the meeting was also told that the assessment will remain under continuous review.

Gardaí are working closely with event organisers to ensure that appropriate safety and security measures are in place at events over the summer and regular “scenario exercises” involving a number of agencies continue to be held and the lessons learned are shared among the bodies in question.

The Taoiseach chaired the meeting of Ministers and senior officials of agencies including defence, justice, transport and health.

‘Ireland not immune’

Speaking in the Dail yesterday, the Taoiseach said, “I was very impressed with the immediate response to the tragedy of the first responders in Manchester.”

He noted that any event, whether it be a concert or major sporting event in any country, carries risks.

No matter where one puts the perimeter of security people must congregate and move to where the event actually takes place and this movement is always outside of that perimeter.

However, he said it is important for the government of the day to “give assurance to people that everything humanly possible is being done and put in place to protect the innocent people and citizens of our country”.

Yesterday, the gardaí warned that Ireland is “not immune” from the threat of terrorism, but said that the possibility of an attack here remains unlikely.

Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin raised concerns about Ireland’s preparedness for such an attack.

“Apparently, we are the only EU state that does not have its own national security and intelligence agency. That is something which needs fairly urgent examination. I am sure the Taoiseach will agree that a national committee where different people come together every time there is a crisis is not the ideal response,” said Martin.

Kenny said when the chair of the garda root-and branch review, Kathleen O’Toole begins her work, it will look at security in policing.

“There is an issue as to whether or not we should have a security and intelligence unit as a separate structure and how it currently operates. We will reflect on that,” he said.

This is not the first time the issue of terrorism and Ireland has been raised in the Dáil.

In April, following the terrorist attack in Sweden and the bomb attack on a bus transporting the Borussia Dortmund football team to a Champions League, Labour’s Brendan Howlin said Ireland needed to “up its game” in terms of protections against terrorist attacks.

He said it might be appropriate for a Cobra-style meeting (similar to the kind held in the UK) to be held if there is an attack.

At the time, the Taoiseach said his department does not take the lead in such situations, but said if the nature of the emergency warranted a special arrangement, the Taoiseach’s department would call such a Cobra-style meeting.

Additional reporting by Cliódhna Russell. 

Read: Dragon’s Den star to moderate Leo and Simon in Fine Gael hustings>

Read: Leo Varadkar says Sinn Féin is “the greatest threat to our democracy”>

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