Monday 24 July 2017

VIDEO: 'It would be naive to think a terrorist attack would not happen in Ireland'

Mark McConville

Mark McConville

In the wake of the terrorist attack in Manchester Arena on Monday night, concerns have been raised about the current security situation in the UK - and whether Ireland is prepared for such an event.

Independent.ie spoke with Lee Doddridge, Director of Covenant (Security & Risk Management), former member of the UK National Counter Terrorism Security Office who shared his expert opinion.

What are your thoughts this morning on the current security situation in UK?

Well obviously we are facing a quite complex security threat at the moment.

We have seen the drastic attack of last night and obviously a few weeks back looking at Westminster  were there is a number of methods being used currently at the moment.

If we move further a field towards Europe last year there’s a wide varied o threats we face .

Last night demonstrated that actually that threat can be sophisticated with devastating results.

Can you describe what security measures are currently in place in the UK that were not there before? What changes have been made since heightened terror threat?

It varies, different venues will have different security regimes depending on what the profile of the site is. But if you look at last nights venue being a concert venue we have been  looking at implementing security there and upgrading it since 2005. And that’s across the UK. Concert halls, music venues we are very much part of that.

The majority of them now have condition of entry. So that would include bag searches or no bag whatsoever.

Sometimes there is a ban on liquids and you have to buy them in the venue. Very similar to what you do at an airport.

If there is a more high profile artist, then they bring their own security measures as well.

Regarding Ireland, our Taoiseach or Prime Minister said this morning that the UK and Ireland regularly share information on security. Do you know anything more about that?

Yes I do; I do believe that the security services and the emergency services within Ireland are prepared.

This isn’t something new. Yes, maybe the threat from the Islamic State is obviously a newer threat that we face. But the UK, Ireland and including Northern Ireland; this is something they have been aware of for some time now - and they do train regularly.

I’m aware that former colleagues that worked in Belfast have come down to Dublin.

I’m confident that Ireland (are prepared), I hope and I really really believe this and I hope we don’t have to put it to the test.

The feeling in Ireland is that this is happening in other countries, but it isn’t going to happen in Ireland, what do you say to that?

Yes, unfortunately there is a chance it [a terrorist attack] could happen anywhere. What if it did happen here [in Ireland]?

It would be naïve to think it wouldn’t happen and I really hope it doesn’t.

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