Saturday 21 September 2019

Kenny admits attack could happen here but rejects call to regulate mosques

Enda Kenny says he cannot rule out Ireland being targeted Picture: Tony Gavin
Enda Kenny says he cannot rule out Ireland being targeted Picture: Tony Gavin
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has conceded he cannot rule out Ireland being targeted by a terror attack similar to the truck rampage which resulted in the murder of 12 people in Germany.

However, he has rejected a suggestion by a senior Muslim cleric that the Government should regulate Irish mosques as part of an attempt to clamp down on hate-preaching. Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri said the Government should set up a Muslim council to regulate mosques and imams should be required to preach in English.

The Taoiseach said he disagreed and insisted Ireland was a country where citizens had freedom of religion and religious practices.

"We respect the right of every religion to preach to its own followers and we expect that preaching to be in accordance with peaceful means and the religious beliefs that people have," he said.

Mr Kenny said gardaí and the Defence Forces were "always vigilant" and were taking every precaution to protect Irish citizens from the threat posed by international terrorists.

However, he noted that bigger police and security forces in other EU countries had not been able to prevent attacks from radicalised Islamic terror groups.

"You can never rule anything out, but we like to think that in this country people are vigilant, that we're careful and we will do everything we can to protect our citizens," he said.

"I hope that nothing like that will happen here. That would apply to any country."

He added: "We are very careful in the alertness of our security forces, gardaí and Defence Forces, who make every effort possible to see that we are protected."

Meanwhile, in a Christmas interview, Mr Kenny refused to refute claims by senior Cabinet colleagues that he would remain party leader if a snap general election was called next year.

On three occasions, the Taoiseach avoided answering the question and instead said his focus was on the challenges posed by Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

Irish Independent

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