Friday 9 December 2016

Irish people urged 'to stand by France' in wake of terrorist outrages in Paris

Published 16/11/2015 | 02:30

IRISH people must resist the bigotry and fear which the Isis terrorists seek to create through brutal attacks like those in Paris, President Michael D Higgins has said.

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President Higgins urged everyone to recommit to values of tolerance and respect for human rights as they reject violence of terrorists.

"It is important that we be steadfast in our resolve to resist the fear and bigotry that terrorists are seeking to create, that we expose the distortions of sacred texts and belief systems that they invoke," President Higgins said marking today as 'UN International Day of Tolerance'.

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny said there was no evidence of anything "untoward" being planned either in or for Ireland. Mr Kenny said the State's national security committee, comprising senior government officials from a number of departments, met on Saturday to consider the implications of the attacks in Paris.

"Things are at a normal response level in Ireland," Mr Kenny told RTÉ radio.

Mr Kenny added that there is a "very sophisticated response unit" ready to respond to any warning signs. "We don't have any information to suggest that, but we are very conscious of being vigilant of all of this," the Taoiseach said.

"We have a garda stationed permanently in the French Embassy in Paris who attends these security meetings and liaises with the police forces around Europe and beyond," Mr Kenny added.

The Taoiseach said Ireland and all of Europe stands with France and that the French people and people must not be beaten down by terrorist attacks. But he conceded that attacks such as the one in Paris are difficult to detect and prevent.

Mr Kenny said there must be better security cooperation and sharing of intelligence across Europe. He warned against migrants seeking help in Europe being branded as terrorists on flimsy evidence, but said suspect asylum applicants would face security screening.

"The vetting and the examinations will be very thorough and comprehensive," Mr Kenny said.

The Taoiseach has ordered flags on State buildings to fly at half-mast. He said the minute's silence across Europe today will also be observed in Ireland.

Government chief whip, Paul Kehoe, said there will be a minute's silence in the Dáil this week as a gesture of solidarity with the French people. But former Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, said deputies should hold a more detailed discussion of the implications of last Friday's terrorist attacks.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Charlie Flanagan, flies to Brussels today for a meeting of his EU counterparts. The EU's justice ministers will meet on Friday and are expected to discuss intensified security cooperation and better sharing of anti-terrorist intelligence.

Mr Flanagan said the Isis attacks were in part designed to split the 28 EU member governments. "This must be avoided at all costs," he told the Irish Independent.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said Ireland will continue to invest in better security resources. She Ireland's security will be kept under review.

Irish Independent

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