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Security at Dáil far less stringent than at other national parliaments - Varadkar

The social protection minister said there is a possibility that somebody could carry out an act of violence in the Irish parliament.

SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTER Leo Varadkar has said security at Leinster House is far less stringent than other national parliaments he has visited.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said in the Dáil today that she will ensure all government premises, including Leinster House, are secure following yesterday’s terror attack near the House of Commons in London.

Answering a question from TD John Brassil, Fitzgerald said:

“We are all concerned to ensure that all premises are secured as much as possible, including this one. I assure the Deputy [John Brassil]  that the safety and security of locations around the country, including this one, is of prime concern to An Garda Síochána and it has all relevant initiatives under way.”

FullSizeRender (4) Source: Christina Finn

When asked by TheJournal.ie if he was concerned about security at Leinster House, Varadkar said:

It is without a doubt that security going into Government Buildings and going into our parliament is much less than it would be visiting almost any other parliament that I have ever visited.
We have to be wise to the possibility that somebody could carry out an act of violence in our parliament – it might not necessarily be an armed terrorist – it could be anyone.
Of course there are hundreds of staff that work in the building also, so any reviews of security, taking into account what has happened in Westminster, would be very welcome.

The minister said that everyone must be “cognisant” of what happened in London, adding that an attack on a parliament is an attack “on the heart of a democracy”.

Ireland: Dublin Goes Green for St Patrick's Day Government Buildings Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Garda briefing 

Following yesterday’s terror attack, Fitzgerald said she was briefed by garda authorities and the Garda Commissioner Noírin O’Sullivan.

“An Garda Síochána is in constant contact with its UK counterparts, directly and through its liaison person there.

Ireland: Dublin Daily Life A view of Leinster House main building. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

“Ireland cannot consider itself immune from the threat posed by international terrorism and extremism. The expert advice is that while an attack is possible here, it is unlikely,” said the Tánaiste.

All possible steps are being taken by An Garda Síochána, supported by Defence Forces where necessary, to deal with any threat to this country. They will continue to work very closely with UK and international colleagues to make sure that we remain safe.
There are a small number of people here whose activities are a cause for concern in terms of supporting terrorism. The authorities will continue to monitor them very closely.

Varadkar said the Irish government has extended its sympathies and words of solidarity to the British government.

He added that Irish officials have been in contact with the embassy in London to offer any consular support to the Irish citizen injured in the attacks, who is believed to be “recovering well from her injuries”.

Earlier today, Fitzgerald expressed her sympathies to all of those affected by yesterday’s “appalling outrage in London”.

Read: Irish person injured in Westminster terror attack ‘recovering well from her injuries’>

Read: ‘He expanded the definition of us’: Clinton’s tribute to McGuinness, as thousands pay respects>

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