herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Armed officers will patrol inside Aviva Stadium during Ireland's clash with Austria

The Aviva stadium
The Aviva stadium

Armed gardai will be on patrol inside the Aviva Stadium tomorrow evening for Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Austria.

Armed units, as well as undercover gardai, will be on duty in the stadium and in the area surrounding the ground.

The crunch encounter kicks off at 5pm, and gardai are taking no chances to ensure the safety of home and travelling supporters.

Additional specialist units, including the Garda Public Order Unit, will be on duty - as is always the case for an Irish international fixture.

It is understood extra uniformed gardai have been drafted in for the game.

It comes after three UK terror attacks in recent months.

Gardai have asked fans attending the game to be "vigilant at all times" and to report any suspicious or unusual activity.

"An Garda Siochana has a comprehensive security plan in place. This includes armed garda units, along with plain clothes garda units inside and outside the venue," said a spokesman.

Vigilant

"Everybody attending will be subject to search and is advised to arrive in plenty of time.

"We ask everyone to be patient and to co-operate fully with gardai, stewards and security staff.

"We also ask the public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious or unusual activity to gardai or security staff immediately.

"Every person's safety is our priority at this event."

Ireland's threat-level currently remains at moderate, meaning that an attack is possible but not likely.

"The level of threat is under constant review by An Garda Siochana and that remains the case following the incident in London," the spokesman added.

"Review meetings have been attended by the Garda Commissioner."

Enhanced security measures, including a ban on large bags, will also be enforced.

An FAI spokesman said safety and security measures would be in place as normal for the game.

"In light of what happened in the UK recently, large rucksacks will not be permitted into the stadium, except for in regard to exceptional circumstances," the spokesman said.

"These will be judged on a case-by-case basis and will cater for people with medical needs, or those who require movement of medical equipment with the aid of a rucksack.

"The measurements that were put in place before the Uruguay match were very well received by the public, who cooperated fully with the procedures."

Atrocity

The measures were introduced before last Saturday's attack and have been described as "even more pertinent" in the wake of the London Bridge atrocity.

A limited number of tickets are also still available for tomorrow evening's World Cup qualifier.

This week, it was announced extra gardai will be added to the Armed Support Unit (ASU), based in Dublin.

In total, 20 gardai - including four sergeants - who were trained last September will join the armed unit by June 22.

Gardai are also in the process of increasing the numbers within the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), the force's highly-trained and heavily-equipped specialist intervention unit.

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