herald

Wednesday 28 June 2017

We can't rule out a terror attack like Berlin, says Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has conceded he cannot rule out Ireland being targeted by a terror attack similar to the truck rampage which killed 12 people in Germany.

However, he has rejected a suggestion by a senior Muslim cleric that the Government should regulate Irish mosques as part of an attempt to clampdown on hate-preaching.

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, who runs a mosque in Clonee, said the Government needs to have a strategy to monitor levels of radicalisation and an initiative to promote integration.

He called for a Muslim council to regulate mosques and Imams should be required to preach in English. The Taoiseach said he disagreed and insisted Ireland is a country where citizens have freedom of religion and religious practices.

"We respect the right of every religion to preach to its own followers and we expect that preaching to be in accordance with peaceful means and the religious beliefs that people have," he said.

Mr Kenny said gardai and the Defence Forces are "always vigilant" and are taking every precaution to protect Irish citizens from the threat posed by international terrorists.

However, he noted bigger police and security forces in other EU countries have not being able to prevent attacks from radicalised Islamic terror groups.

"You can never rule anything out but we like to think that in this country people are vigilant, that we're careful and we will do everything we can to protect our citizens," he said.

"I hope that nothing like that will happen here. That would apply to any country.

"We are very careful in the alertness of our security forces, gardai and Defence Forces who make every effort possible to see that we are protected," he added.

Avoided

Meanwhile, in a Christmas interview Mr Kenny refused to refute claims by senior Cabinet colleagues he would remain as party leader if a snap general election was called next year.

On all three occasions, the Taoiseach deliberately avoided answering the question and instead said his focus was on the challenges posed by Brexit.

When it was put to him that he was purposely leaving open the possibility of a seeking a third term in office, Mr Kenny said he was "genuinely focused on the challenges ahead".

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