Army Ranger Wing carry out terror exercise in Dundrum shopping centre

NewsBy Morgan Flanagan Creagh
Army Ranger Wing carry out terror exercise in Dundrum shopping centre

Members of Ireland’s elite special forces unit the Army Ranger Wing patrolled on the roof of Ireland’s busiest shopping centre in readiness for a terrorist attack.

Members of ‘The Wing’ carried out exercises just days after the Paris terror attacks which left 130 people dead.

During the exercise, highly-trained soldiers armed with heavy weapons patrolled on the roof of the Dundrum shopping centre in Dublin.

The Irish Daily Star reports that Dundrum was chosen for the exercise because of its high footfall and ISIS’s preference to attack heavily populated areas.

Dundrum shopping centre

“The exercise included a scenario whereby the shopping centre had been attacked,” a source told the Star.

“it is all part of ensuring that our ranger wing is prepared and ready should the worst ever happen here.”

The Defence Forces released a statement confirming that the training operation had taken place.

“The Defence Forces confirms that a pre-planned, routine military exercise took place over the course of one day last week to assess techniques and procedures.”

“Military exercises are conducted on a regular basis to maintain capabilities.”

Both of Ireland's elite units. the garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and Ranger Wing. have stepped up their training following last week’s attacks on Paris.

Their training was expanded since the threat level was increased early this year from “low” to “moderate”, which means a terror attack in this country is possible but not likely.

Ireland’s elite counter- terrorism units have trained overseas, with ERU gardai working with the French, Dutch, Germans, British and PSNI forces.

The Irish Independent reports a senior garda source as saying that the ERU was given “very sophisticated” training, including  hostage-taking incidents, sieges, and dealing with attackers who are heavily armed and possibly wearing suicide vests.

Just last month the ARW become the first international team to win both the International and overall categories in the United States Sniper Competition in Fort Benning Georgia.

Facing competition from 36 other teams drawn from the U.S military, international military and U.S state and federal law enforcement, this is the first time that an International team has won both the overall and International competition categories. Read the full story here.

The ARW has served overseas in East Timor, Liberia, Chad, the Balkans and Somalia and will see its numbers increased to over 100 in 2014.

Both the Garda and the Army have a number of Arabic speakers in their ranks with a significant group available to military intelligence as a result of Defence Forces deployment overseas.

On Saturday afternoon a meeting of the national security committee was held following the Paris attacks.

The committee includes the Garda Commissioner, Defence Forces Chief of Staff, and their main Garda and army security advisers, as well as senior officials from the Departments of Justice, Defence and Foreign Affairs.

It was agreed that the threat level should remain at moderate.