Police confirm London attacker was carrying Irish ID card

Gardaí are “providing every assistance” to London Metropolitan Police

Police confirm London attacker was carrying Irish ID card

Westminster Bridge in London following Saturday's terrorist attack, 05-06-2017. Image: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated at 17:15

Gardaí are “providing every assistance” to London Metropolitan Police after it emerged that one of the terrorists who attacked the city on Saturday night may have lived in Ireland.

It has been confirmed that an Irish identity card was found on one of the attackers who was shot dead by police.

The man is believed to have been a Moroccan national and gardaí are reportedly checking his residency and marital status while he was living in Ireland.

"An Garda Síochána is providing every assistance to our colleagues in the London Metropolitan Police in relation to the terror attack in London,” the force said in a statement.

“We will process all requests from the UK authorities in relation to enquiries into individuals, identities or any other matter.”

Security and intelligence meeting

The Garda Commissioner reportedly held a special meeting of security and intelligence officers in Garda Headquarters this morning after reports of the attacker’s Irish connection began to emerge.

Gardaí are constantly in contact with police and intelligence services in the UK through a special garda Liaison officer – as well as through Europol and Interpol.

It's believed that he never came to the attention of the authorities in Ireland for extremism or any other form of criminality.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has said there is a “close operational relationship” between Ireland and the UK in managing the security of the Common Travel Area between the two regions.

The terror threat level in Ireland is currently classified as ‘moderate’ – meaning an attack is possible but unlikely.

"Moderate" threat level

A DOJ statement said there is currently, “no specific information in relation to any threat to Ireland from international terrorism.”

It said the level of threat is kept under “constant and active review,” with the Garda Commissioner equipped to assess the threat based on available intelligence, knowledge of terrorist capabilities and events on the international stage.

The commissioner makes her assessment in consultation with the Department’s chief of staff.

“Clearly, awful attacks like the one in London and others that have taken place elsewhere focus attention on any other measures that might be taken to prevent such atrocities,” reads the statement. “The authorities here are taking and will take all necessary and appropriate measures to counteract the threat.”

The department said the gardaí have “appropriate operational measures” in place and are supported by the “considerable skills and resources of the Defence Forces.”

'COBRA' style committee

Yesterday the new Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar indicated his intention to establish a COBRA style committee in Ireland should he be confirmed as Taoiseach by the Dáil.

In the UK, the meetings involve a cross-departmental committee and are aimed at coordinating the central government’s response to crisis situations.

Depending on the nature of the emergency, senior government ministers and civil servants can be joined by military personnel, security and intelligence officials and representatives from the emergency services.

In a statement yesterday, Minister Varadkar 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 cooperation on these issues.”

At least seven people were killed and 48 injured in the attack in central London on Saturday night.