Analysis: Threat of extremist attack in Ireland lies more with the lone wolf - but what are we doing to prevent it?
It would be very difficult for extremists to develop a number of active cells in this country - but we cannot afford to be complacent
Aside from the litany of personal tragedies created by the Manchester attack on Monday, is the disturbing fact that this event was far more sophisticated than any previous attempted attacks seen in the UK since the London bombings of July 2007.
The use of explosives, the identification of the security weak point in the venue and the maximising of casualties by use of shrapnel in the device show a level of competency and planning not seen in the UK since July 2005.
Recent attacks in both the UK and European mainland have largely been carried out by lone actors or small groups with limited expertise in planning or ability to source weapons.
The Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris were the last attacks that indicated some level of communal planning and tactical awareness on behalf of the terrorists.
In the case of the Manchester attack, someone had to source the explosives for the attack. That kind of thing usually requires engagement with the criminal underworld and therefore fraught with risk that police informers will become suspicious and pass information to their handler.
Usually, the suicide attacker is the least qualified of a terrorist team and groomed by others to carry out such an act.
So now this begs the question as to could such an event happen in Ireland?
While Islamic State's claim of responsibility for the attack will be a major headache for the UK authorities as to how such a cell or organisation grew in their midst, it will be a source of comfort to authorities on this side of the Irish Sea.
Based on the facts that we are a smaller population, with a much smaller Islamic population within than in the UK, means that it would be very difficult for some extremist grouping to develop a number of active cells in this country to plan for such an attack.
However we cannot afford to be complacent, we have seen recently how the Garda’s Counter Terrorism International section and elements of the Defence Force Military Intelligence Directorate (G2) recently closed down an alleged financial support network operating out of Ireland as part of a greater operation emanating from the UK.
It is not beyond comprehension to think elements of more violently focused networks in the UK could develop nodes of their network in Ireland in order to diversify their operation and avoid detection in planning and sourcing of materials for operation.
However, the greatest likelihood of an extremist attack in Ireland still lies more with the lone actor who is home produced.
The young self-radicalized Irish man who is born and reared here and who decides to perpetrate an act of violence against those who the likes of Islamic State deem to be his enemy.
What are we doing to prevent that?
Declan Power is an independent security analyst and writer. He has worked with the European Commission on various counter-extremism and terrorism projects in Africa and the Middle East.