Wednesday 17 January 2018

'We have files on suspected jihadis' - Charlie Flanagan warns Ireland must remain vigilant against terror attacks

Minister of Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan
Minister of Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan

David Kearns

Ireland needs to “remain vigilant” against Islamic State says Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan, who admitted files were being kept on suspected jihadis in this country.

The senior Fine Gael politician made the comments a week after gardaí released a man on suspicion of attempting to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

The man, who is a Syrian national living in Dublin, was sent back to Ireland by Turkish officials after he landed in Instanbul.

Read More: Detectives release man suspected of being IS extremist

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Flanagan said while Ireland was “very low in terms of threat”, the country needed to remain on “alert and be vigilant against threats.”

“There are files on jihadis in Ireland, of course there are… [but] I work closely with my colleagues in the Justice Department to ensure that any information we have is shared.”

Mr Flanagan was speaking a day after attending a meeting of EU foreign ministers, where recent terror developments, including the deadly attacks in Tunisia that left three Irish people died, were discussed.

Read More: Defence Forces united on threat posed by 'lone wolves'

It comes as the Turkish government has promised to increase security on its Syria border after 30 people were killed and over 100 wounded in a bombing yesterday linked to ISIS.

The Foreign Affairs Minister told Newstalk Breakfast that the Radicalisation Awareness Network - part of the European Commission - and the sharing of airline passenger data was an important part of the process of preventing any jihad-inspired attack in Ireland.

Read More: Cameron tackles extremists with new legislation

He also voiced support for the United Kingdom’s new anti-terror legalisation saying that “it was key that we remain in close contact with communities in order to prevent what we call radicalisation”.

“We need to remove the glamour that many of these groups have… and that involves the promotion of the rule of law and democracy… something I think we take for granted here in Ireland."

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