Opinion: We need to know how Ireland would respond to a Manchester-style attack

Does 'run, tell, hide' apply here?

On Tuesday evening, I sat in Block E of the 3 Arena and watched Radiohead perform. 

The gig had sold out in a matter of minutes and I was well aware of how lucky I was to be in attendance. I was so excited to see the band but as I sat in Row 21, waiting for them to come on stage, my mind drifted to Manchester.

For the first time in my adult life, I found myself looking for the nearest exit. I looked at the crowd standing below my row of seats and wondered how the people in attendance would react should the unthinkable happen. It’s an awfully morbid way to think, but I quite literally couldn’t help it. 

I was surprised at my reaction. I have covered terror attacks before. A friend travelled to Manchester the morning after the attack to report on the investigation. Working in a busy newsroom, I listened to experts discuss how Ireland could and should react to an attack like the one we witnessed in Manchester. I watched as press releases arrived in from event promoters about new safety restrictions. I wasn’t cocooned from this story.

Sitting in a room, not too dissimilar to that of the Manchester Arena, however, made it all that bit more real.

Those in attendance at the 3Arena were a good bit older than those who went along to Ariana Grande, but everyone was in great form and ready for a night of music, just like Manchester on May 22nd.

It’s hard to imagine the terror and fear that ripped through the MEN Arena that night. 

I know that our security agencies met in the aftermath of that attack to discuss how they would respond to a similar event should it occur in Ireland, but as I sat in the 3Arena on Tuesday night, I was still worried. 

Some may say “this is what the terrorists want – for everyone to be afraid and not enjoy themselves”, but I had a great time! My mind runs a mile a minute. While I did have those niggling worries, I still had an amazing night.

Advice

I have thought about this quite a bit this week, as you can probably tell. I have realised that I need to know how to react in the event of an attack. 

Terrorism isn't an infrequent occurrence anymore. Just because the likelihood of an attack on Ireland is low, doesn't mean an Irish person will never find themselves in a situation like Manchester, London, Berlin and so on. 

I want our government to advise and protect us. I want to be able to react in the right way should something happen.  

The meeting held by former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in the direct aftermath of the Manchester attack was a stepping stone, but further action and communication are needed. 

This information was issued by the MET Police. Will our government issue something similar? I sure do hope so.