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Files on suspected jihadis in the Republic

The Republic's foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan

Anti-terror authorities have compiled files on several suspected jihadis in the Republic.

Foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan has confirmed that intelligence exists on Islamic extremists living in the state.

Mr Flanagan made the revelation a day after telling a meeting of his European Union counterparts that the potential infiltration of Islamic State supporters was of “great concern”.

The minister yesterday said that while the threat posed to the state was “very low”, there was a need for those responsible for tracking possible suspects and identifying potential threats to remain “alert and vigilant”.

Mr Flanagan also said it was important that authorities remained “in close contact with communities in order to prevent what we call radicalisation”, with the European Commission's Radicalisation Awareness Network played a key role in the process.

He expressed concern about the “worrying expansion of global terrorism” after ISIS gunman Seifeddine Rezgui murdered 38 holidaymakers, including three Irish tourists, in a Tunisian resort on June 26, and a suicide bomber, with suspected links to ISIS, killed 30 people and injured more than 100 in the Turkish town of Suruc this week.

Mr Flanagan told Newstalk the Irish government had strengthened its anti-terror legislation late last year but there was also a need to “remove the glamour” from extremist groups by promoting the rule of law, democracy, tolerance and respect.

Last week it emerged that gardaí tasked with cracking down on extremists had arrested and questioned a Syrian national after he had been sent back to Dublin by Turkish authorities when he flew into Istanbul.

Detectives are investigating whether the man, who is in his 30s, travelled on a fake passport amid suspicions that he planned to cross the border into war-torn Syria to join ISIS.

He was released without charge but a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The south's justice minister Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed up to 40 people have travelled from the Republic to North Africa and the Middle East since December 2010.

While some have travelled for family or humanitarian reasons many others have been motivated by a desire to join the fighting. Irish officials believe that at least three of those who have entered conflict regions have lost their lives.

High-profile Irish Muslim convert Khalid Kelly (49), a Dubliner born Terence Edward Kelly who converted to Islam in 2000 while in a Saudi Arabia prison, last year defended the ISIS beheadings of two US journalists and a British aid worker.

The trained nurse claimed the terror group was involved in a “battle between good and evil” with the US and its allies.

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