A SENIOR Garda official has said that lone wolf attacks are of major concern to the force.
Speaking at the opening of the 46th Interpol European regional conference in Dublin today, assistant commissioner Michael O’Sullivan says gardaí are equipped to respond to a terror attack in minutes.
He said: “We looked at a similar target to London Bridge, which we identified as Temple Bar, and we found there were three cars within three minutes – heavily armed at Temple Bar.
“There were two ER Units on stand-by in Harcourt Square and another two further Armed Support Units in north Dublin who would respond within seven minutes.
“I’m quite happy with our response.”
He also revealed that Ireland’s terrorist threat level remains moderate, although he cited two previous incidents in Dublin.
One of these involved a man on a Dart with an imitation firearm and another involving a man with an axe near O’Connell Bridge, which gardaí responded to and diffused in five minutes or less.
Furthermore, gardaí believe that most of the estimated 30 Irish extremists who travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight for ISIS are now dead.
Mr O’Sullivan said some may be missing while others could have moved to other “theatres of war in the Philippines, in the horn of Africa, North Africa”.
Gardaí are also monitoring a small number of Isil sympathisers in Ireland, in the hope of preventing any ‘lone-wolf’ attack.
Mr O’Sullivan said: “We have a small number, and I won’t elaborate on the world ‘small’ number of Isil sympathisers here whom we are monitoring and who are of interest to us.
“In 2017, we set up a Terrorist Financing Investigation Unit to look at terrorist financing – and that includes not just the domestic, but also the international”.
More than 130 senior police officials from 52 countries are attending the three-day conference in Dublin.
There, they will address a range of crime issues including drug trafficking, online child sexual abuse, organized crime and cybercrime.