500 troops take part in terror attack exercise in capital
Five hundred troops were deployed on the streets yesterday as part of an exercise designed to test the reaction of the Defence Forces to terrorist attacks.
The troops were called in at short notice at the request of the Garda authorities to help cope with the fallout from an initial terror strike and subsequent intelligence that further terror strikes were being planned at key installations.
The scenario was based on real-life attacks in major European centres like Barcelona and Paris and the military response was spearheaded by their elite anti-terror unit, the Army Ranger Wing.
Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, who watched the main thrust of the exercise at the former Odlum's site at Dublin Port, pledged that increasing the strength of the Ranger Wing was a top priority and said plans were well advanced.
The troops were drawn from stand-by units at 10 barracks in Dublin (McKee and Cathal Brugha), the Defence Forces training centre at the Curragh, Dundalk, Athlone, Kilkenny, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Finner, Co Donegal. They were not notified about their tasks until 6am.
According to the exercise scenario, six terrorists had mounted a knife attack at Pearse Street rail station, resulting in eight people being killed and 20 injured. Gardaí had shot and captured one terrorist and discovered other terror cells were planning a series of attacks.