Monday 11 December 2017

We are vulnerable to terrorist attack, so we must set up necessary agencies

Ireland is relying on an outdated security model to protect us from threats - and it's just not good enough, writes Joe Ryan

SKILLS: Due to historic reasons, the Army, who have the experience and capability to gather and analyse intelligence, do not have the legal independent authority to do so. Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
SKILLS: Due to historic reasons, the Army, who have the experience and capability to gather and analyse intelligence, do not have the legal independent authority to do so. Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Joe Ryan

There is no doubt that a credible threat of terrorist attack exists in Ireland at this time. In recent months we have seen violent outrages against communities with which we share broad cultural, religious and political values. Why in Ireland do we feel so immune from this threat?

Whereas most developed countries have threat levels such as Low, Moderate, Substantial, Severe or Critical, we have one level permanently set at "possible, but unlikely". As a security and intelligence consultant to governments around the world, I know how other states manage the threat of terrorism and I have yet to find the national threat level "possible but unlikely".

The establishment of a "powerful new State agency" reported in the Sunday Independent on July 31, 2016, gives no cause for reassurance that Ireland is aligning its intelligence structures with the rest of Europe. The body being established seems little more than a passenger identification database forced upon us by the US under threat of losing our visa waiver and seems designed to reassure the UK that, post-Brexit, a common travel area between the two islands should be maintained.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss