Senior garda says the force could respond to a terror attack 'in minutes'

Asst Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan was speaking at an Interpol conference in Dublin

Senior garda says the force could respond to a terror attack 'in minutes'

File photo shows Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) arriving at at Shannon Airport by Defence Forces helicopter in response to a terror attack exercise | Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Gardaí could respond to a terrorist attack here within a matter of minutes.

That is according to the senior garda in charge of Irish national security, who has been speaking at a major Interpol conference in Dublin.

Ireland's terrorist threat level remains moderate: meaning an attack is possible but not likely.

Assistant Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan says gardaí are ready should one happen.

"We looked at a similar target to London Bridge, which we identified as Temple Bar, and we found there were three cars within three minutes - heavily armed (at) Temple Bar.

"There were two ER Units on stand-by in Harcourt Square and another two further Armed Support Units in north Dublin who would respond within seven minutes.

"I'm quite happy with our response".

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan also believes we are prepared.

"We don't have any evidence of an immediate threat or attack - but we are still very much ensuring that all developments on the international stage are fully monitored".

Lone wolf attacks always pose a serious threat and have been described as probably the greatest concern to all police services in Europe.

Assistant Commissioner O'Sullivan added that gardaí are monitoring a small number of Isil sympathisers.

"We have a small number, and I won't elaborate on the word 'small' number of Isil sympathisers here whom we are monitoring and who are of interest to us.

"In 2017, we set up a Terrorist Financing Investigation Unit to look at terrorist financing - and that includes not just the domestic, but also the international".

Gardaí believe most of the Irish jihadis, who left to fight wars, are now dead or missing.

It is estimated that around 30 terror sympathisers from here went to fight wars in Iraq or Syria.