As Ireland mourned the victims of the Paris massacre, the first signs of Dublin’s stepped-up security measures were evident on Monday night.
Several dozen extra Gardai mounted a tight security watch on Ireland’s soccer match against Bosnia and Herzegovina at the city’s Aviva Stadium.
Soccer fans and players from both nations were appreciative of the increased security following the attack on the soccer international between Germany and France, one of several terrorist assaults in Paris on Friday night.
But the Irish and Bosnia players and fans were equally determined that the ISIS terror in Paris wouldn’t scare them into abandoning the Dublin game. Ireland’s win means they progress to the European Championship finals in France next summer.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Ireland stood with France and all French people, and people must not be “beaten down” by terrorist attacks.
Despite reassurances from Kenny and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, there are still persons “of interest” who are continually monitored by the Irish security services.
An estimated 20-30 people have traveled from Ireland to take part in various conflicts in recent years, and security services believe some of these have died in places such as Syria.
There is also some concern over the continuing use of Shannon Airport by the U.S. military, but Fitzgerald said she did not think Ireland would be singled out for attack because of it.
“I don’t think we should start making excuses as to why terrorists would be attracted to particular countries. Let’s condemn terrorism for what it is – an attack on all right-thinking people, an attack on democracy,” Fitzgerald said.
President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina led Ireland’s mourning for the victims of the Paris atrocity when they signed the book of condolence at the French embassy. Flags flew at half-mast on government and other buildings.
Thousands of people, many of them French citizens living in Ireland, took part in weekend vigils for the victims of the massacre in Dublin, Galway and Cork.
The largest of the events was in Dublin, where thousands of predominantly young people gathered at the Spire on O’Connell Street. Waving a number of French flags, they paused briefly outside the Alliance Française for a softly rendered version of "La Marseillaise."
In Galway, several hundred people joined French honorary consul Catherine Gagneux at the city’s Spanish Arch in driving rain and wind for a minute’s silence and a rendition of the French anthem.
Gagneux was particularly moved when six representatives of the city’s Ahmadiyya Muslim mosque presented her with a bouquet of flowers, including red roses.