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Irish link to terror attack an alarming development

Fiona McGarry

As the names emerge of those killed and injured in the latest terror outrage in London, what is striking is the range of nationalities of those directly affected.

The seven who died include a Canadian woman and a French national while people from France, Germany, New Zealand and Australia are among the injured as well as a number of Londoners.

This list reflects the fact that London is an open, diverse and multi-cultural city which welcomes visitors and workers from all over the world.

Limited details have emerged about the three men who carried out this barbaric attack, at least one of whom lived in Barking in east London and had been reported to the authorities after expressing extremist views.

However, reports that one of the attackers was carrying an ID card issued in the Republic and had lived for a time in Dublin will be regarded as a matter of grave concern.

Ireland north and south is well used to dealing with violence carried out by republican and loyalist paramilitary groups and the security forces on both sides of the border are closely focused on tackling the threat posed by these organisations.

But up until now, the threat from Islamic State has not been at the level experienced in Britain, France or other parts of Europe.

Gardai are liaising with the Metropolitan Police investigation while Taoiseach Enda Kenny said although a small number of people are being monitored in respect of radicalisation, the dead attacker was not among that group.

The Republic's department of justice yesterday said the current assessment is that while an attack is possible it is unlikely and `there is no specific information in relation to any threat to Ireland from international terrorists'.

Following the news that a member of the London terror gang had been based in the Republic, the authorities on both sides of the border will have to review arrangements to ensure any threat from radicalised individuals or groups is counteracted.

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