Wider powers should be used to deport extremists, urges O'Dea
Former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea has said the Government should deport Islamic extremists who are identified by Irish intelligence services as being involved in terror-related activity.
Gardaí are currently monitoring the movements of around 30 suspected jihadists, but the actual number is "unquantifiable", according to security sources.
Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea, who served as Defence Minister from 2004 until 2010, said the Government has the powers to deport people living in Ireland who are suspected of being engaged in or facilitating terrorism.
During his time in Government Mr O'Dea said military intelligence agencies closely monitored the activities of a number of individuals with links to al-Qa'ida.
"There aren't very many [extremists] living here, so it is easier to identify them and keep them under surveillance.
"The Justice Minister does have the right to deport people who are suspected or anyway associated with terrorism, and there are wider powers there which should be used if this is found to be the case," Mr O'Dea told the Irish Independent.
He added he would have concerns about letting individuals, who were involved in armed conflict in the Middle-east, return to Ireland.
"If there was anybody involved in conflict like that I would be very slow to let them back in, even if that meant changing the law, because by definition they are radicalised.
"Isil has shown again and again what it is capable of and we don't want that mentality here. I am very, very friendly with members of the Muslim community here in Limerick and they would agree with me.
"We can't be closing our eyes when people are based here or using it as a back door [to the UK]".
It comes as gardaí are continuing their investigation into a number of individuals with suspected ties to London Bridge attacker Rachid Redouane, and more arrests are expected in the coming days.
Yesterday, detectives released a Moroccan national who was arrested in relation to theft and fraud offences connected to their ongoing probe. He was detained at Wexford garda station before being released without charge.
Earlier this week another Moroccan man was detained in Limerick after being found in possession of documents linked to Redouane. He has since been released without charge with a file now being prepared for the DPP.
More resources are also being given to the Garda Armed Support Unit (ASU) in Dublin.
However, the president of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) Antoinette Cunningham has raised concerns over the lack of counter-terror training for front-line gardaí.
Last night, Redouane's ex-wife Charisse O'Leary expressed her disgust at his involvement in Saturday's terror attack.
"I am deeply shocked, saddened and numbed by the actions of my ex partner, who has killed and injured so many innocent people.
"Since discovering that it was Rachid that was responsible I have shed many tears for the people caught up in this horrific incident," Ms O'Leary said.
"Rachid and I have been separated for six months. We have a beautiful young daughter, that for the last six months has been our only bond and reason for contact.
"My thoughts and efforts now are with trying to bring up my daughter with the knowledge that someday I will have to try to explain to her why her father did what he did.
"I wish to make it absolutely clear, so there can be no doubt, I condemn his actions and do not support the beliefs he held that led to him committing this atrocity," she added.