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Elite Garda Unit to Join Defence Forces in Counter-Terrorism Training

Elite units from the Gardaí and the Defence forces will be undertaking a major training exercise in preperation to combat a potential terrorist attack.

The aim of the exercise is to strenghted the response and management capabilities of key agencies in the event of a major emergency. The table-top course is a joint initiative by the Gardaí and the Defence Force, and it will play a critical role in the national response to acts of terror in Ireland.

The training is set to be held at the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, during the coming week. It will be attended by members of the Emergency Response Unit and the Army Rangers Wing, among others. It is the latest in a series of training courses held in the aftermath of the Paris attacks in November last year.

Late last year, Ireland was host to an international course on developing a comprehensive approach to a terrorist-style gun attack. The course took place at the Curragh military training centre and was attended by representatives from 24 countries, including 22 European states and the United States.

The week-long course was held shortly after the Paris terrorist attacks, but it had been planned months earlier. Taking part were special operations personnel from the Ranger Wing, the explosive ordinance disposal teams, the Air Corps and the Garda Emergency Response Unit.

Ireland was chosen to host the course because of the reputation of the Defence Force in disposing of improvised explosives, as well as the nation’s membership in the Partnership for Peace programme. The training was funded by the Nato voluntary national contribution fund.

The training was aimed at preparing an emergency response to marauding terrorist firearms attacks, including lone-wolf and random shooting. However, in light of the Paris attacks, there has been a new focus on creating a response plan for the event of a well organised attack.

The upcoming training in Templemore will also focus on the response of the Gardaí, the Defence Forces, the fire service and the ambulance service in the minutes immediately following an emergency. This will ensure that all agencies will be fully co-ordinated and capable of conducting a quick, streamlined response if a terrorist attack were to take place.

Following the terrorist attack on ‘Charlie Hedbo’, Ireland’s threat level was raised to moderate, where it currently stands. This means that an attack is possible but not likely to occur.


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