Monday 19 August 2019

Paris Terror Attacks: Kenny wants terror intelligence shared - but says no evidence Ireland is a target

Mr Kenny has called for better security cooperation and sharing of intelligence across Europe
Mr Kenny has called for better security cooperation and sharing of intelligence across Europe
John Downing

John Downing

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says there is no evidence of any terrorist attack being planned for Ireland.

Mr Kenny also called for better security cooperation and sharing of intelligence across Europe.

Although he conceded that attacks such as the one in Paris were difficult to detect and prevent, he said security services did not know of anything "untoward" being planned either in or for Ireland.

Mr Kenny warned against migrants seeking help in Europe being branded as terrorists on flimsy evidence, but said suspect asylum applicants would face security screening.

"The vetting and the examinations will be very thorough and comprehensive," Mr Kenny said.

Mr Kenny said the State's national security committee, comprising senior government officials from a number of departments, met on Saturday to consider the implications of the attacks in Paris.

"Things are at a normal response level in Ireland," Mr Kenny told Sunday with Miriam on RTÉ Radio One.

Mr Kenny said there was a "very sophisticated response unit" ready to respond to any warning signs. "We don't have any information to suggest that but we are very conscious of being vigilant of all of this," he said.

"We have a garda stationed permanently in the Irish Embassy in Paris who attends these security meetings and liaises with the police forces around Europe and beyond," Mr Kenny added.

The Taoiseach said Ireland, and all of Europe, stands with France and the French people and people must not be "beaten down" by terrorist attacks.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan flies to Brussels today for a meeting of his EU counterparts.

Europe's justice ministers will meet on Friday and are expected to discuss intensified security cooperation and better sharing of anti-terrorist intelligence.

Mr Flanagan said the Isil attacks were in part designed to split the 28 EU-member governments. "This must be avoided at all costs," he told the Irish Independent.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said Ireland would continue in future to invest in better security resources. She said Ireland's security would be kept under review.

The Taoiseach has ordered flags on State buildings to fly at half-mast. He said the minute's silence across Europe today will also be observed in Ireland.

Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe also said there will be a minute's silence in the Dáil this week as a gesture of solidarity with the French people.

But former Justice Minister Alan Shatter said TDs should hold a more detailed discussion of the implications of last Friday's terrorist attacks.

President Michael D Higgins said Irish people must resist the bigotry and fear which the Isil terrorists seek to create through brutal attacks.

President Higgins urged everyone to recommit to values of tolerance and respect for human rights as they reject violence. "It is important that we be steadfast in our resolve to resist the fear and bigotry that terrorists are seeking to create, that we expose the distortions of sacred texts and belief systems that they invoke," he said.

Irish Independent

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