Saturday 24 February 2018

Majority believe State cannot prevent jihadi terrorist attack

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Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The vast majority of people believe Ireland does not have the capacity to deal with a jihadi terror attack, a Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll has revealed.

Almost seven out of 10 (68pc) people polled said they did not have faith in the Irish authorities to prevent a terror attack similar to those waged by Isil terror cells in other major European cities.

A mere 15pc of those polled believe the State would be able to stop jihadi terrorists from murdering innocent civilians in Ireland. Women, people living in Munster and those aged 35-54, are most concerned about the State's capabilities to deal with a terror attack.

However, the majority of people do not believe Ireland will be targeted by terror groups such as Isil. Almost half (47pc) of those polled said they were not worried about Ireland being attacked by terrorists, while just over a third (35pc) said they were concerned about an attack.

The poll was taken four weeks after the horrific London Bridge terror attack which saw radicalised Islamic terrorists murder eight and injure 48 innocent civilians enjoying a night out in the English capital.

Less than two weeks earlier, a suicide bomber with links to Isil detonated an explosive device at an Ariana Grande concert murdering 22 people, many whom were teenage girls.

The callous attack at a pop concert also resulted in 250 injuries. Since the rise of extremist Islamic terrorism, the Government has stated the prospect of an attack in Ireland is possible, but not likely. Gardai have been monitoring around 30 people who have travelled to war zones in the Middle East and have since returned to Ireland.

One of the terrorists involved in the London Bridge attack lived in Dublin for a brief period and two people were arrested in Ireland as part of the investigation into the horrific murder spree. Khalid Kelly, a radicalised Irish Muslim, died in a failed suicide bomb attack in Iraq.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar established a special Cabinet sub-committee to address national security issues in the wake of the London terror attacks. The committee is based on Britain Prime Minister Theresa May's Cobra committee which is convened to address serious security issues such as terror attacks.

Mr Varadkar's committee is attended by Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald, Justice Minister Charles Flanagan and Junior Defence Minister Paul Kehoe, along with Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan and senior Defence Forces' personnel.

The Taoiseach said it will meet as necessary in the coming months.

Sunday Independent

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