WATCH: Garda terrorist training exercise takes place in Dublin

The operation involved a fake stabbing and hostage situation

WATCH: Garda terrorist training exercise takes place in Dublin

Image: Juliette Gash

The Garda Commissioner says that Ireland is a very safe place - but we have to be realistic.

Noirin O'Sullivan was speaking at a Garda terrorist training exercise in Dublin's Docklands earlier today.

Operation Sciath (which is Irish for 'shield') saw local gardaí joined by armed officers, with fire and ambulance services observing.

The simulated exercise, which got underway at 11am and his now finished, involved a hostage situation as well as several stabbings.

The Docklands railway station - which only has scheduled services in the early morning and evening - was closed while the simulated attack took place.

Inspector Alan McGovern explained: "The first phase involved local units and armed support units, and reaction times to the scene.

"Second phase involved armed support units, supported by the Emergency Response Unit. And for the third phase of the exercise, we broke into a hostage barricade incident. I think it went very, very well."

Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan says she is confident that we have the response capability in the event of an attack, but that officers are learning lessons all the time.

She added that there will be armed support units for all of Ireland by the end of the year.

She observed: "The Armed Support Unit was introduced in December for the city here. We then gave a commitment that we are going to increase our armed support units all over the country. That's in train - that will be completed by the end of this year.

"What we're simulating here today is an international terrorist threat - but we also have to remember that we have a domestic terrorism threat which hasn't gone away."

Superintendent Sean Ward says today's training operation was a long time in the planning.

He explained: "It has been planned since last April - it's an exercise that has been led on from other exercises that have been taking place with the ambulance service, with the fire service and with the military over the last two years.

"It's an ongoing process in terms of exercises, and there'll be further exercises later on in the year as well."