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Sunday 15 September 2019

Paris Terror Attacks: Gardai step up security measures in the aftermath of the Paris attacks

The Cabinet will today be briefed by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald on security issues here and on the attack on Paris
The Cabinet will today be briefed by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald on security issues here and on the attack on Paris

Tom Brady and Kevin Doyle

Gardai have stepped up security measures at air and sea ports in the wake of the Paris terrorist atrocity.

Surveillance of targets on a garda suspect list of terrorist figures here with Middle Eastern links has also been tightened.

There are concerns that terrorists could turn Ireland into a transit hub for extremists to travel to or from conflict zones.

Officers are sharing updated intelligence gathered by other European police forces and agencies since Friday night's attacks which claimed 129 lives.

The measures were put in place after an intelligence assessment review carried out by senior anti-terrorist officers in Dublin at the weekend, and a briefing provided to the Government by Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan.

One security official told the Irish Independent while there was no specific information on a threat here, Ireland could not consider itself immune from international terrorism.

Officers are also on stand-by to take part in the international manhunt for fleeing suspects.

A chilling video promised deadly consequences for the Western countries who sought to fight the new Islamic State.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan, who was at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, said gardaí are monitoring "a small number" of potential terrorists.

Mr Flanagan said gardaí remain vigilant but that the threat to Ireland was "very low".

However the Government here is under pressure to review the threat and security resources on a "daily basis".

Fianna Fáil's justice spokesman, Niall Collins, said: "Dublin is a major capital city, the same as Paris, and we have to safeguard and ensure as much as possible that we don't succumb to any threats or any events that happened like in Paris at the weekend.

"I agree the risk is categorised as low, but I think we need to be on our guard, and I think it needs to be monitored on a daily basis."

The development came as Britain said it would hire 2,000 new spies to combat the extremist threat, while France launched an intensive crackdown on terrorism that spread into neighbouring Belgium.

Police raided more than 150 addresses as the alleged mastermind behind the attacks was named as Brussels-born Abdel-Hamid Abu Oud.

Irish Independent

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