Friday 30 September 2016

Terror suspects being 'monitored closely' here in wake of attack

Published 23/03/2016 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
People bring flowers and candles to mourn at Place de la Bourse in the centre of Brussels. Photo: AP

A small number of terror suspects based in Ireland are being "monitored closely" in the wake of the Brussels terror attack.

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The Government has said an attack here is "not likely" but we cannot consider ourselves "immune from the threat".

Taoiseach Enda Kenny ordered an emergency meeting of the little-known National Security Committee yesterday to assess the risk to Ireland from terrorists.

The committee is chaired by the Secretary General of Department of the Taoiseach, Martin Fraser, and includes the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Mark Mellet, and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan, as well as officials from several other government departments.

Afterwards a statement issued on behalf of the Government said gardaí were working closely with EU and other international security and intelligence counterparts.

"The activities of a small number of people based here and whose behaviour may be of concern will continue to be monitored closely."

It described the events in Brussels as "deplorable" and said they "have highlighted starkly once again the threat from international terrorism".

"Acts of violence like these are an attack on the democratic way of life that we in Ireland hold dear and the values that we share with our EU partners," it said.

"While it remains the case that there is no specific information in relation to any threat to Ireland from international terrorism we cannot consider that we are immune from the threat.

"It remains the case that an attack here is assessed as possible but not likely.

Threat

"The level of threat is kept under constant review by An Garda Síochána and all appropriate measures will continue to be taken by the authorities here.

"For obvious security reasons, we could not go into the details of the operational responses. All the agencies here co-operate closely in respect of any threats that are identified," the statement said.

Separately Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the events in Brussels were "another dreadful reminder of the savagery of terrorists who hold our values and democracy itself in deadly contempt".

She said the threat level in Ireland would remain under review but that an attack on another EU country "is an attack on us all".

"We know from the dark history of this island that, while, despite the best efforts of police and security services, terrorists can succeed from time to time in carrying out attacks, ultimately democracy and our values will prevail," she said.

The Dáil heard condemnation of the attack from all parties, with Mr Kenny saying: "Those who seek to use death and violence in this way must be confronted, will be confronted and will be defeated.

"These acts were utterly indiscriminate and are an attack on our democratic values. I condemn them in the strongest possible terms."

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said: "These attacks strike at the very heart of European people, the European Union and the whole sense of solidarity and community that we have consistently embraced in this country."

Irish Independent

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