Government and security agencies assess State’s preparedness in event of terror attack
Government departments and security agencies are meeting this morning to discuss possible terror threats to the State.
The meeting which was announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil yesterday began in Government Buildings at 7.30am and officials from across the defence, justice, transport and health sectors are attending.
The measure was taken following this week’s bomb attack in Manchester in which 22 people died.
The meeting has been likened to Cobra briefing in the UK which involve high-level intelligence figures and cabinet members, although Ireland does not have a fixed protocol for calling such meetings to assess security threats to the State.
Speaking yesterday Mr Kenny said there was always the threat of danger at concerts and major sporting occasions, “no matter where you put the perimeter of security”.
He further stressed the importance of the Government being able to give assurances to members of the public that everything possible was being done to prevent any similar attacks occurring in Ireland.
“We can’t proceed on the basis that everything is calm and rosy, that nothing could happen here while the levels of security are moderate.”
He said an attack was possible but not likely, but warned: “There isn’t any reason why that couldn’t change.”
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin criticised the lack of a dedicated intelligence agency in Ireland to deal with such matters, and Mr Kenny responded that there will need to be reflection on the issue in future.
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has urged people to be vigilant and exercise patience in the face of additional security in the wake of the Manchester terror attack.
Speaking during a visit to the Fusion and Acorn youth diversion projects in Co Offaly, she said our thoughts and prayers were very much with the families of people who had been injured and deceased and people who were still looking for their loved ones.
She said it was really important to remember that while an attack in Ireland was possible, it was not likely.
“That means that we have no specific intelligence in relation to an attack here. Nevertheless we have to be conscious of what has happened in Manchester, what has happened in London, what has happened in Paris, Nice, and Berlin.
“What I would encourage people to do is increase their vigilance, increase their awareness, particularly with events where people will be congregating in the coming weeks and months, and to co-operate with security personnel and the event organisers.
“For example, going into venues, there might be additional searches but just be patient. Also to be vigilant and aware. Garda members will be out and they will be present. If there are people with any concerns, no matter how small they are, bring them to members of An Garda Síochána who will be present at these events, or indeed ring any Garda station. Those matters will be dealt with, they will be taken seriously and our focus is on making sure communities are safe and that we prevent attacks like this from happening as far as is humanly possible.
“The unfortunate reality is that an attack like this can happen anywhere, so that is why we really have to remain vigilant, we have to remain aware,” she added.