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Question

29. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the current assessment of the threat to Ireland of an international terrorist attack; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40312/16]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As an open and democratic society in the European Union, Ireland cannot consider itself immune from the current international terrorist threat. The current assessment of the threat is that while an international terrorist attack on Ireland is possible, it is not considered likely. Nor is there at present any specific information that an attack on Ireland is planned. The level of threat from this source is kept under constant review by An Garda Síochána, particularly in the light of ongoing developments and the current international situation.
While there are a number of persons here whose activities in support of extremism give rise to concern they will continue to be monitored closely by the Garda authorities and all appropriate measures will be taken in this regard. Indeed, the Garda authorities will continue to take all necessary security measures proportionate to the level of terrorist threat and all the relevant agencies here co-operate closely in respect of any threats identified. The Deputy will understand that the detail of such security measures should not be disclosed publicly.
An Garda Síochána has developed considerable operational capacities in countering terrorism and in responding to critical incidents. There is, in particular, a highly-trained and well-equipped special intervention capability in the Emergency Response Unit that is supported by the regional Armed Support Units and the range of other resources across the Garda organisation. In addition, the considerable skills and resources of the Defence Forces are also available in support where needed.
I secured additional funding of €55 million for the Garda Vote this year which included additional sums specifically to support the force's capabilities and actions to counter international terrorism, including equipment and training.
Of course, this is an international problem and the Garda Authorities will continue to work closely with their EU and other international security and intelligence counterparts in responding to this shared threat. The gathering and sharing of relevant information is an important aspect of this international co-operation. The Government is committed to providing An Garda Síochána with the necessary resources to enhance their connectivity to a range of EU and other international resources and significant work is ongoing in this regard. This includes connecting to the Schengen Information System and, indeed, to other EU and Interpol information-sharing resources relevant to countering the terrorist threat. A series of measures is being rolled out to build on the current EU framework for information-sharing, combating terrorism and controlling illegal firearms, and Ireland is fully engaged in pursuing these developments.