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Dramatic scenes as counter-terrorism perform simulation in Dublin

Actors simulate a possible terrorist attack in Dublin city
Actors simulate a possible terrorist attack in Dublin city

Counter-terrorism training was conducted today in Dublin's docklands involving several different attack scenarios.

Locals in the Docklands vicinity were asked to stay clear of the area as members of the elite units along with various emergency services carried out the exercises.

Operation Sciath, Irish for shield, involved local Garda strategic and operational command personnel, Gardaí from the Dublin Metropolitan Region, the ERU (Emergency Response Unit), the ASU (Armed Support Unit) and Garda Air Support unit. Members of Iarnrod Eireann were also involved. 

Three possible terrorist scenarios were played out. In one two attackers drove a vehicle into a pedestrian and proceeded into a closed off Spender Dock train station where they attacked civilians with knives.

In footage of the simulation, armed gardai arrive and neutralise the attackers before emergency services tend to the victims. Another scenario involves an armed man taking hostages aboard a train. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that the first meeting of the new Government Security Committee will take place next week. The announcement followed the successful conclusion of the security exercise today.

"Protecting our citizens is of paramount importance to the Government. This involves a significant amount of ongoing work by the Gardaí, the Defence Forces and other State agencies," he said.

"Today’s security exercise is part of the ongoing work by these State agencies to practice, develop and assess our capacity to prevent or respond to incidents. Their principle focus is on security within Ireland, but they also work with our partners in Europe and further afield. Much of this work happens behind the scenes, but I also recognise that the public need reassurances about our capacity to deal with incidents.

"As well as testing our response capacity, it is even more important that we do all we can to prevent attacks. We do this through our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, through international co-operation, through our foreign policy and peacekeeping work, and also through important domestic measures such as promoting integration, education, tolerance and respect here at home.

"Before I was elected Taoiseach, I said it was my intention to establish a new Government Security Committee to allow greater Ministerial involvement in preparing for and managing major security threats, and to allow more extensive cross-Departmental cooperation on these issues."