Wednesday 23 May 2018

'Detailed plans'' in place to deal with terrorist attack here, Tanaiste insists

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Arthur Carron
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Arthur Carron

Group Political Editor

DETAILED plans have been prepared for dealing with a terrorist attack in Ireland, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald.

The Justice Minister today urged to “remain sensibly vigilant” and work to ensure that people do not become alienated from society.

Ms Fitzgerald was speaking after Taoiseach Enda Kenny chaired a meeting of Gardaí, the Defence Forces, Ministers and senior official to review the terrorism threat in the wake of the Manchester bombing.

The meeting was briefed on the threat assessment by the security authorities, who indicated that they remain in daily contact with their counterparts in the UK, the EU and beyond.

It was noted that while a terrorist attack here is possible it is unlikely and there is no specific information in relation to any threat to Ireland from international terrorism.

Ms Fitzgerald said this assessment will be kept under “continuous review”.

Ministers were briefed on the overall national emergency management arrangements involving the different agencies of the State and how these arrangements would be operationalised in the event of a terrorist attack or other major incident. As well as the key Government Departments who have a lead role within their specific sectors, the meeting was briefed on the role of the HSE, local authorities, aviation and transport authorities.

 “Of its nature, much of this work cannot be disclosed publicly, but people can be assured that it goes on relentlessly.

“Of equal importance is the ongoing work ensure that people do not become alienated from our society and radicalised. Terrorism is caused not by particular religions or peoples, it is caused by hatred, and terrorists alone are responsible for their evil acts,” she said.

“As well as causing death and destruction, the aim of international terrorism is to change our way of life, through creating fear. We cannot allow that to happen.

“So while all reasonable and practical steps are being taken to counteract any threat here, and people must remain sensibly vigilant, we owe it to those who have suffered from terrorism the world over to abide by our values and live our lives to the full in a free society.”

The roles of the Office of Emergency Planning, the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning, the National Co-ordination centre were noted and Ministers were assured that all the various agencies and bodies continue to work closely together in supporting a coordinated response to any incident that might arise.

In that regard Ministers were briefed that regular "scenario exercises" involving all the agencies continue to be held with the lessons learned shared among the bodies in question.

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