Saturday 16 December 2017

Gardaí step up operations in the wake of latest attack

Frances Fitzgerald said officers were on guard to deal with any potential threat. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Frances Fitzgerald said officers were on guard to deal with any potential threat. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

An Garda Síochána is to step up its operations in light of the terrorism atrocities across Europe.

Garda officers are on high alert following the death of at least 12 people in the German capital, Berlin, after a truck driver ploughed through a crowd of shoppers at a Christmas market.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressing the condolences of the Irish people.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald last night said specialist officers were on guard to deal with any potential threat.

The Fine Gael minister said the Defence Forces were on standby if required.

Ms Fitzgerald also said that gardaí would work closely with their international counterparts in order to deal with any fallout.

Read more: 'Our values are the target of those who wish to see a world of dark tyranny' - Tánaiste hits out at Berlin attacks

"The Garda authorities will continue to take all necessary security measures proportionate to the terrorist threat and all the relevant agencies here co-operate closely in respect of any and all threats identified," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"The Garda authorities also work closely on an ongoing basis with their European and other international counterparts in addressing the threat from terrorism.

"As a matter of routine, the gardaí carry out training and exercises in this regard, including in respect of a range of identified scenarios, and some of that activity takes place jointly with their colleagues in the Defence Forces and with other stakeholders."

The issue of security was not raised at Cabinet yesterday, although a number of ministers recorded their sympathy for the German people.

Mr Kenny wrote to Ms Merkel yesterday expressing the condolences of the Irish people.

In the letter, Mr Kenny addressed the chancellor by her first name, saying that Irish people were "deeply shocked" by the loss of lives in Berlin.

He said the thoughts and prayers of everyone were with Germany, concluding: "Ireland stands side by side with our German friends at this difficult time."

Fianna Fáil's foreign affairs spokesman Darragh O'Brien said the attacks demonstrated a fundamental challenge for liberal democracies across the world.

"I extend my deepest sympathies to the people of Germany, to the families of those who have lost loved ones and also to those who have been injured.

"I have passed on my condolences personally to the German ambassador here in Ireland."

Irish Independent

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