Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins is calling on the Government to be more robust on the issue of Ireland’s preparedness in the wake of the security threat in Europe. His comments follow an uncertain media performance by the Justice Minister where she appeared uncertain about the country’s response following the terrorist attack in Paris and the heightened security alert in Brussels.
Deputy Collins said: “I am very surprised to hear the Justice Minister say today that she has still not attended a meeting of the National Security Council. I appreciate that political attendance at these meetings has not been a feature up to this point, however I find it extraordinary that the Taoiseach and Justice Minister haven’t insisted on attending the Council following the attack in Paris and growing public concern about the threat of such violence.
“Fianna Fáil believes there should be a co-ordinated response across Europe and I welcome the fact that Ireland is participating in the Schengen Information System (SIS) – the database used by European countries to maintain and distribute information on people of interest in law enforcement and border control.
“The Government has been less than sure footed in its response to the situation in France and Belgium and I am concerned the lethargic response to date is contributing to growing public concern. Just last week the Justice Minister confirmed to me that Gardaí don’t keep records on the number of officers in the force who can speak languages that might be useful in monitoring the overseas terrorist threat.
“The Government needs to step-up its response to the threat in Europe and improve Ireland’s preparedness. This is not about frightening the public unnecessarily but the Government must be much more proactive and robust in its public responses than it has been to date.”