Gardaí to review strategies and monitor jihadist sympathisers

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Garda HQ will conduct a fresh review of security strategies after the London terrorist attack and are monitoring the reaction of a small number of jihadist sympathisers here, writes Cormac O’Keeffe.

The Garda Crime and Security Branch has conducted several reviews after previous attacks in France, Belgium, and Germany.

The repeat use of a vehicle to kill civilians — the third time in Western Europe since last June — will feature strongly in the review.

The use of a knife in the London attack to murder police officer Keith Palmer — inside the grounds of the British parliament — was an added feature of the use of a vehicle and will form part of the security review.

Sources said it was impossible to prevent someone using a truck or a 4×4 to kill people in crowded areas or streets. “We have been looking at that [use of a vehicle] for some time,” said one source. “It’s very, very difficult. Outside planned large-scale public events and certain places, what can you really do?”

He said they were alive to the possible use of a vehicle since a statement from an Islamic State spokesman in 2014 urging people to use knives, rocks and cars to kill.

Security agencies across Europe are concerned that the more incidents involving the use of vehicles — and the impact and consequent mass media publicity — will encourage “copycat” acts.

The EU police agency, Europol, made this warning last November when it said the perceived success of such attacks “will encourage” more.

And European agencies are also concerned at the impact of the war against IS in Syria and Iraq and the return of foreign fighters, and greater calls from IS leaders for sympathisers to act at home.

The Department of Justice said experts had noted this call for “personal jihad and the encouragement of self-motivated attacks on Europe and the West”.

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