Leo Varadkar to set up new anti-terrorism Govt unit in response to London attack

Leo Varadkar to set up new anti-terrorism Govt unit in response to London attack

Incoming taoiseach Leo Varadkar will establish a new anti-terrorism Government unit similar to Britain's COBRA system within his first 50 days of office, writes Fiachra O'Cionnaith of the Irish Examiner.

It is in response to the latest terror attacks in London.

In a statement this evening, the new Fine Gael leader said he is making the controversial move in light of the growing threat of extremist violence on parts of western Europe.

Speaking after the third attack in Britain since March and the second in just two weeks led to a number of deaths in London on Saturday evening, Mr Varadkar said Ireland must be prepared.

While stressing there is "no change" in this country's security status, he said as a result of the London attacks a new Government security group similar to the COBRA system in Britain must be created, giving a timeline of the end of July.

"Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has indicated that he intends to establish a cabinet level committee on national security similar to the COBRA committee in the UK within the first 50 days of Government," a statement from Mr Varadkar's spokesperson said.

"Although Ireland is not at high risk of a terrorist attack, it is important to be prepared for every eventuality.

"The new committee will allow greater ministerial involvement in preparing for and managing major security threats, and more extensive cross-departmental co-operation on these issues.

"The UK's COBRA committee deals with major crises such as terrorism," the statement concluded.

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