Monday 26 August 2019

Taoiseach urges states to share intelligence information to prevent future European attacks

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Caroline Crawford

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has urged States to share vigilance and information to ensure terrorist attacks like that carried out in Paris are prevented in the future.

Mr Kenny was speaking in Castlebar this morning where he observed a minute’s silence for the victims of the Paris terror attacks.

He described the attacks as “an appalling attack on innocence, an appalling attack on humanity”.

He said the Government is “very conscious” that terrorism can strike anywhere but stressed that Ireland had a “very sophisticated emergency response” in place.

The Taoiseach said the National Security Committee, which is comprised of officials from the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Defence and his own Department along with other agencies met twice over the weekend for full briefings. But he stressed that there was no current evidence of any threat to Ireland.

“In so far as Ireland is concerned we are very conscious that terrorism can strike anywhere, we don’t have any information, any updated information, to the effect that there is anything planned in Ireland or planned about Ireland.

“Clearly the Government will reflect on this tomorrow also and if necessary, God forbid, Ireland has a very sophisticated emergency response unit in the context of anything happening here,” he added.

Speaking about Ireland’s past, Mr Kenny the country has some experience of this type of terrorism, where people for whatever reason planted bombs without warning and took the lives of innocent people without warning.

“While it’s from a different perspective the end result is the same in some cases, mayhem and murder have no place in a democratic society,” he added.

Mr Kenny said the focus was currently on assisting “where we can” with the French investigations.

“While it is so sad, nothing can bring those people back, life goes on. We’ve got to make sure that vigilance and information is available and shared to ensure that these things can be prevented in the future,” he said.

“Obviously the eyes of the world are on the authorities in France, sharing information with other countries, determining  the absolute facts here, who were responsible, what were the issues that led to the coordination of planning for such a horrendous weekend in Paris,” he added.

Mr Kenny who observed a minutes silence for the victims as he announced a jobs plan for the West this morning, said he had given instructions that the national flag will fly at half mast for the three days of mourning and the Dáil will observe a minutes silence when it meets tomorrow.

He said the Irish embassy in Paris was fully manned with staff available 24 hours a day to support Irish citizens who are travelling to Paris or France and for those already in the country.

“Obviously we have a garda stationed full time at the embassy in France who attends at the security meetings and shares information with other police forces in Europe and beyond,” he added.

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