Saturday 24 March 2018

'Stockholm-style terrorist attack could happen here' - garda conference hears

The truck in the Stockholm attack drove through busy shopping streets
The truck in the Stockholm attack drove through busy shopping streets
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

A garda conference was warned today that a Stockholm-style terrorist truck attack on a crowded street could happen here.

The conference was told that Sweden was a neutral country like Ireland and there was no reason why an incident such as the truck assault in Stockholm earlier this month could not be repeated in a major city here.

Delegates from the Garda Representative Association (GRA) called for counter terrorism training for its frontline members.

Executive committee member James Morrisroe, from Cavan-Monaghan division, said they acknowledged that the specialist squads such as the Emergency Response Unit and the Regional Support Units were highly trained.

But he pointed out that the uniformed gardai were the frontline responders and would be the first on the scene if there was a terrorist attack.

Their counterparts in other European police forces were all properly trained in what to do in such an event.

He said the gardai should be given theoretical, practical and tactical training and advised on how to divert crowds and protect life if there was an attack.

Unlike other citizens, gardai had a natural instinct to run towards the danger to protect others.

Mr Morrisroe said that in the recent terror attack in Westminster PC Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death, instinctively ran towards the danger.

"Following the attack in Stockholm, there is no reason why Ireland, as a modern, democratic and neutral country, would not be at risk", he added.

Other delegates said they needed training on how to clear an area after an attack, protect people at the scene and take immediate security measures such as erecting inner and outer cordons to seal off an area.

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