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Gardai need to be proactive in fight against extremism

Gardai need to be proactive in fight against extremism

GARDAI need to utilise highly- trained and experienced officers to combat the growing problem of Islamic extremism, a senior investigator has warned.

The terrorism investigator warned the force “should be proactive” in dealing with the threat from Islamic extremists in Ireland.

There are increasing fears that the country is being used as a hub by jihadists and that gardai are ill-equipped to deal with the issue after a spate of attacks in Europe, including the recent attack in London.

Involved in the investigation of subversive crime, both here and abroad, the investigator believes that gardai need to change their tactics.

“Ireland is now in the best position to deal with this issue,” he said.

“We have a reasonably small Muslim community that is semi-integrated with local communities here.

“Ireland does not have ghettos like they exist in the UK, France and Belgium and the opportunity is here to ensure that people in the Muslim community do not get marginalised.

“There are difficulties here but to stop the problem getting worse we need experienced gardai to deal with these communities.

“There are a lot of people in the gardai who have the natural ability to communicate and these are the people who need to be utilised now.

“When dealing with the Muslim community, officers need to know the background of who they are dealing with, where they are from, what strand of the Islamic faith they are, their allegiances; their ideologies, and most importantly to discover whether they are individuals who have a mindset towards violence.”

The investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, believes that while gardai are well equipped to deal with a terrorist attack, they are not doing enough to interact with Muslim communities.

“We need in-depth knowledge of who we are dealing with,” he said.

“If gardai are going to these communities without the necessary knowledge, these communities won’t engage with gardai.”