Garda leave cancelled for 1916 ceremonies
Published 08/03/2016 | 02:30
All Garda leave is being cancelled in Dublin in the run-up to the 1916 centenary commemorations at Easter.
Leave for gardaí in some other locations will also be affected as security chiefs finalise a major plan to combat any threats from or disruption by dissident republican terrorists.
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan pledged yesterday that every step would be taken to ensure that the public could enjoy the commemoration events in safety.
She said the threat posed by dissidents remained a top security priority for gardaí and they were working closely with the PSNI in the wake of last Friday's bomb attack, which severely injured a prison officer in Belfast as he drove to work.
The commissioner said 31 people had been arrested by gardaí last year in connection with inquiries into dissident activity and 26 of those had been charged with terrorist-related offences before the Special Criminal Court. A comprehensive plan had been drawn up for the 1916 events with the main Garda objective being the protection of the community.
The commissioner was speaking at a graduation ceremony at the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary.
Confirming the plans to put extra gardaí on the streets over the Easter weekend, Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said policing on the day would be commensurate with the risk involved and that would be assessed continually.
Monitoring of suspected activists and known supporters of dissident groups such as the Real IRA, the New IRA, Óglaigh na hÉireann and the Continuity IRA is being increased on both sides of the border.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said: "This is a very important year for us, we have important celebrations coming up and there is every reason to believe they will be enjoyed and celebrated by very many people."
She said there was always a potential security dimension.
"But we have no particular information at present in relation to any specific threat," she added.
Asked about the three recent gangland murders in Dublin, Ms O'Sullivan said that organised crime activity had to be viewed in context.
She pointed out that there had been 22 gangland murders in 2009, compared with three last year. But she also acknowledged that there had been a resurgence in organised crime activities since the start of the year.