Friday 20 January 2017

Defence Minister Simon Coveney: An attack like Paris terror attacks 'is very unlikely' to happen in Ireland

Published 14/11/2015 | 22:36

Mr Coveney, who will chair the task force, said the issues raised in the ‘The Guardian’ article were 'deeply concerning' and stressed that they will be 'dealt with comprehensively'
Mr Coveney, who will chair the task force, said the issues raised in the ‘The Guardian’ article were 'deeply concerning' and stressed that they will be 'dealt with comprehensively'

Defence Minister Simon Coveney said an attack such as those seen in Paris is very unlikely to happen in Ireland.

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The threat of such an instance happening in this country is quite low, Mr Coveney said during an interview on a special edition of 'Prime Time' on RTE One tonight.

Minister Simon Coveney
Minister Simon Coveney

He also told viewers the National Security Committee met this morning following last night's attack in France where the threat assessment was discussed.

The defence minister was interviewed by broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan who asked him if Ireland was prepared for such a possibility.

"I think an attack like that in Ireland is very unlikely actually.

"Our National Security Committee met today and the threat assessment for Ireland hasn't actually changed in terms of the intelligence that we have.

"And so while of course a terrorist attack is always possible, the assessment would say the threat is very low at the moment," he said.

""I think it's important not to be scaring people talking about incidents like this happening in Ireland, but obviously it's the job of An Garda Siochana, the Defence Forces working with them and other emergency services in making sure we have the capacity to respond to whatever may or may not happen even if it is deemed very unlikely."

When pressed upon whether Ireland had the forces necessary to deal with such an attack, Mr Coveney told her such forces were available..

"The primary responsbility lies with the gardai and the defence forces.

"We have very well trained special forces in defence forces, called the Army Ranger Wing who train at home and abroad in terms of updating their skill sets and capabilities.

"But I don't think that should be the focus today.

"I want to reassure people in their homes that the actual threat assessment in Ireland remains low, hasn't changed.

"Of course the key issue is for any country is intelligence and intelligence gathering because trying to predict instances like this before they happen really is the key security challenge," he said.

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