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Friday 28 April 2017

Minister urges families to 'exercise caution' over threat to festive events

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke

Kevin Doyle and Robin Schiller

Families should “exercise caution” when visiting festive events over the coming days, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has said.

The minister said that while there is no “specific evidence” that Ireland is a target for terrorist activity, we are “not immune”.

Speaking in the wake of the tragic events in Berlin, Mr Flanagan asked members of the public to be aware of the dangers when attending “outdoor events, festival events and holidays events”.

He added that people should “follow the advice of gardaí and indeed to report any suspicious activity or behaviour to An Garda Síochána who will enforce the law”.

Asked what advice the Department of Foreign Affairs is giving people travelling to Europe this Christmas, Mr Flanagan said: “My advice to Irish citizens travelling to Germany, indeed to Irish citizens travelling anywhere is to exercise a high degree of caution.

“Many European countries have a state of high alert. I acknowledge that the events of the last 48 hours have heightened tensions.

“My advice to Irish people would be exercise caution, to follow closely advice and guidance of the police authorities in European capitals and European countries, and also the local civic authorities.”

He said people have “to be on the look out in the context of what is a very troubled time in Europe”.

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe said Ireland’s threat level is at “moderate” but the Army and An Garda Síochána are working closely to carry out risk assessments.

He said meetings were being held involving the Defence Force intelligence section, the Justice Minister and the Taoiseach to ensure the security of the State.

“I have been assured by the [Defence Force’s] Chief of Staff that we have whatever is needed and required in whatever eventuality may occur, and I am happy to have that reassurance from the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces,” Mr Kehoe said.

“No one wants to see any such an event happening, especially around Christmas time where a person would take advantage of people gathered in a crowded place, a market place which was a market place, especially around Christmas time.”

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