How a terrorist set up home in Ireland so he could enter the UK
One of the London Bridge attackers, who was carrying an Irish identity card when he was shot dead by police, is believed to have used this country as a back door entry into the UK.
Last night Garda security and immigration officers were carrying out background checks on the man named as Rachid Redouane and, in particular, on his activities while he was living here.
Anti-terrorist officers in London are continuing to check whether he was the owner of the identity card and have not made any official request yet to gardaí to supply them with a background report on the man named in the document.
The man, who is Moroccan-born, sought unsuccessfully to be granted asylum in the UK but then came here and in 2012 married a UK-born woman.
Redouane (30) used his marriage to an EU citizen to be granted residency status.
The man listed an address in Rathmines in south Dublin while he completed a series of required tests and checks to convince the Garda National Immigration Unit (GNIB) and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that he should be granted an identity card.
He did not come to the notice of any Garda unit in relation to criminal or terrorist-related activities during his stay here and there is no evidence that he was radicalised while living here.
Redouane came back here for a short time last year to update his status. Shortly after that, he separated from his wife.
Under European Treaty rights, a person from outside the EU may qualify for residency here or, ultimately, citizenship. Last night the authorities were establishing whether the man obtained EU treaty rights by applying through registered post to the relevant unit of the residence division of INIS.
A decision on a residence card can take up to six months to be reached and in the meantime, the applicant can be issued with a temporary immigration stamp on their passport for a maximum of six months.
It is understood that the man's wife gave birth while he was living here and he later moved to the UK.
While those background checks were being carried out yesterday, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan chaired a meeting of her security and intelligence units at Garda headquarters for more than three hours. She had also chaired a similar meeting on Sunday.
During the talks, it was agreed that Ireland's terror threat level should remain at moderate, meaning that an attack is possible but not likely. The threat level was raised to moderate from low in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015, and has not changed.
Stringent efforts are made to find out the background status of all applicants for asylum or residency status.
Under the so-called Dublin Convention, applications for asylum should be lodged at the first port of entry within the EU.
So, as an island state this should technically reduce the numbers seeking asylum here.
However, many turn up without any documentation and this complicates efforts to find out if the applications and allegations of torture made by some claimants are genuine.
A lot of them arrive outside the offices of INIS and GNIB without any evidence of how they have arrived in this jurisdiction.
The number of asylum seekers has dropped dramatically from the initial influx of 12,000 in 2002, to less than 3,000.
Statistics that show only one in 10 applicants is successful and the direct provision system, as well as refusal of the right to work, recently overturned in the Supreme Court, are also seen as factors in the drop.