Gardai at the Naas station today
Gardai attached to the Kildare Division staged an in-house training task designed to practice the response to a major terrorist incident - in this case at a shopping centre.
The tabletop exercise served to streamline the garda strategy in the event of an attack - though there is currently no reason to believe that one is imminent.
Senior gardai from stations across the country attended the event, including members of the Emergency Response Unit and Armed Support Unit as well as communications and traffic management specialists.
It was coordinated by Chief Supt. Gerard Roche and the purpose was to coordinate a multi-agency response to an incident where specific roles are also assigned to the Health Service Executive, Kildare County Council and the Fire Service.
Supt. Roche said that the aim of the exercise is to “make sure that the things that are supposed to happen do happen.”
He added: “We all have a different role and the strategy can be applied to a variety of events and these could include incidents involving chemicals, aircraft or a major event on one of the motorways. The fact that we are near to a major population centre like Dublin is another consideration.”
Insp. Mel Smyth said the garda response to any incident will be managed from Naas station by its crisis management team.
He said: “There is no reason to believe that a terrorist threat is imminent, but it’s possible.”
He said that similar teams have been set up with the other agencies and these groups regularly liaise.
“All incident are different though some principles apply to any emergency situation."
Generally speaking the response to a major incident starts with a current situation assessment followed by identifying the key issues. The aims and principles of the response are identified followed by the required action.