herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Gardai warn of Stockholm-style truck attack here

The attack in Stockholm
The attack in Stockholm

A Stockholm-style terrorist truck attack on a crowded street could happen in Ireland, a Garda conference has heard.

The annual Garda Representative Association conference in Galway was told yesterday that Ireland, like Sweden, was a neutral country and that there was no reason why an incident such as the truck assault in Stockholm earlier this month could not be repeated in Ireland.

Delegates from the GRA called for counter-terrorism training for its frontline members.

Executive committee member James Morrisroe, from the Cavan-Monaghan division, said they acknowledged that specialist squads such as the Emergency Response Unit and the Regional Support Units were highly trained.

However, he pointed out that the uniformed gardai were the frontline responders and would be the first on the scene if there was a terrorist attack.

Their counterparts in other European police forces were all properly trained in what to do in such an event.

He said gardai should be given theoretical, practical and tactical training and advised on how to divert crowds and protect life if there was an attack.

Unlike other citizens, gardai had a natural instinct to run towards the danger to protect others.

Mr Morrisroe said that, in the recent terror attack in Westminster, Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death, instinctively ran towards the danger.

Challenges

''Following the attack in Stockholm, there is no reason why Ireland, as a modern, democratic and neutral country, would not be at risk,'' he added.

Other delegates said they needed training on how to clear an area after an attack, protect people at the scene and take immediate security measures, such as erecting inner and outer cordons to seal off an area.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said rank-and-file gardai should not blame management for inflating breath test figures.

It emerged last month that almost a million breath tests have been falsified by the force.

"There can be no place for a culture of blame in An Garda Siochana," she said.

"The challenges the organisation face are too great for that kind of posturing.

"The recent fixed-charge notice and alcohol breath test issues were failures. Failures of the entire organisation."

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