State beefs up anti-terror units; Extra measures and resources unveiled

A larger anti-terrorism unit, more armed gardaí on the streets, round-the-clock regional support units and specially trained garda dispatchers for terrorist and firearms incidents are all being put in place to deal with potential terror threats.

The extra measures, unveiled in the wake of the London and Manchester attacks, come as the separated wife of Moroccan Rachid Redouane — who had lived in Dublin and was one of the three London attackers — issued a statement saying she was “deeply shocked, saddened and numbed” by his actions.

British woman Charisse O’Leary, who married Redouane in Dublin in November 2012, said they had split up six months ago and that she would have to try and explain to their daughter “why her father did what he did”.

She said: “I wish to make it absolutely clear, so there can be no doubt, I condemn his actions and do not support the beliefs he held that led to him committing this atrocity.”

Charisse O’Leary outside an ISIS cafe in Casablanca, Morocco. Picture: Facebook
Charisse O’Leary outside an ISIS cafe in Casablanca, Morocco. Picture: Facebook

In another day of developments:

  • Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan said garda investigations into Redouane had established “no link to terrorism” in Ireland and that he was only here for a “short period of time”.
  • Gardaí do not, at the moment, plan further arrests after two other Moroccan nationals were released without charge in relation to the fraudulent use of Radouane’s PPSN.
  • The Armed Support Unit in Dublin will be increased by a third in size, from 60 to 80, by June 22, and regional ASUs will provide a 24/7 operation by the end of the year. The Irish Examiner understands that specially trained garda dispatchers have been appointed to command and control in Dublin to direct emergency responses to terrorist and firearms incidents.

“Some have trained and some are being trained in firearms incidents and major emergency incidents,” said one source. “If something happens, the call goes to a dedicated controller and he tells members ‘you go there, set up cordon’ etc. This is while the ASU (Armed Support Unit) is being dispatched.”

This follows repeated concerns expressed by garda staff associations at the lack of training and briefing for frontline gardaí and supervisors in responding to terrorist incidents. “We all know the basics,” said one source, “but we need someone to tell us where to go, to direct us and take control”.

It is also understood a further 24 detectives have been appointed to the Garda Special Detective Unit (SDU).

It is not known what the split within the anti-terrorism squad will be, with some going into Counter-Terrorism Domestic (targeting dissident republicans) and the rest joining Counter-Terrorism International (CTI: targeting jihadists).

The Irish Examiner reported in May of last year that CTI only had a staff of around 20 detectives and that this was identified as an area in need for expansion.

It is understood that 12 detectives have already joined the SDU and a further 12 will go in by the end of the month.

Some gardaí have expressed concerns at the slowness in appointing detectives to the SDU, particularly to CTI. But Commissioner O’Sullivan said: “We have significantly increased resources in our counter-terrorism investigation unit.”

“We have counter-terrorism investigation links right around the country to make sure we know exactly what is happening in our communities.”

She declined to confirm if the force had Arabic speakers, but said there were officers “proficient in different languages” and that they had access to translators and interpreters around the clock. .

The commissioner said that live exercises would be carried out by the end of the month and that Operation Bilberry would train superintendents and chief superintendents.

In her statement, Ms O’Leary said her heartfelt thoughts went out to all those murdered or injured in the events of June 3.

“I am deeply shocked, saddened and numbed by the actions of my ex-partner who has killed and injured so many innocent people,” she said, adding that she had “shed many tears” for the people caught up in the horrific incident.

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