A staged college shooting took place in Dublin City University (DCU) tonight in an operation that tested how gardai and other emergency agencies deal with mass casualty terrorist attacks.
The simulation, code-named Operation Barracuda, involved over 50 actors and garda recruits to play out a realistic university shooting and hostage situation.
In the real time exercise, the Garda Control Centre received a 999 call about a serious road traffic collision on the DCU campus.
A number of minutes later a number of assailants exited the car and began shooting and attacking by-standers.
The armed Emergency Response Unit (ERU) then arrived on the scene and shot dead one of the assailants. Two of his accomplices then ran into the building and proceeded to take a number of hostages before shooting several more students.
A realistic standoff then ensued between the attackers and the ERU, along with the Armed Support Unit. They utilised a remote controlled vehicle to safety observe the situation and communicated with the terrorists from the room they were in.
Within the space of ten minutes, a smoke grenade was thrown and the hostages were released safely. The two armed men were shot dead during the encounter and then carried out of the building on stretchers.
A garda spokesperson said The "platinum 10 minutes” and the "golden hour” are crucial in terms of saving the lives of those injured, and the exercise will also focus on the safety of the first responders.
“As specialist Garda units(Armed Response Units, Emergency Response Unit and Hostage Negotiators) respond, An Garda Síochána identify and create safe areas for the treatment and recovery of the injured.”
Sgt Liam Geraghty from the garda press office said the purpose of the exercise was to test how their communications work in a real life scenario.
“We know there will be difficulties and challenges and how information is changing by the second. It’s about how we manage all of that.
“We’ve done a lot of work over the last 12 – 18 months individually. Tonight is about working collectively to make sure we can provide a proper response to deal with all sorts of information.
“It’s critically important that we know the challenges we could potentially face and the only way we can do that is through exercises like these.”