Cops in Ireland have claimed that every one of them knows when there is a serious weather threat, but only a few are informed when there is an international terror threat.Gardai have complained that their front-line responders are untrained to deal with international terrorism situations like the attacks in Brussels last month and Paris last year.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) warned that members of the force who would be first to the scene of any terrorist attack are not trained for such situations.
They also warned that intelligence about possible threats or suspects is confined to gardai in specialist units and sectors at garda headquarters.
AGSI president Tim Galvin said at his association’s annual conference in Westport, “The concern for AGSI is that we have no role in the planning or the preparation of information that comes in relation to threats.
“So frontline staff who are going to be affected first of all because we are the first responders to any incident that may occur don’t have information and we’re not given specific information.”
He claimed that if there was an extreme weather warning every garda in the force would know about it, but when there was a terror threat there was no notification to front-line officers.
“Nothing comes to us so we’re working in a vacuum,” Galvin said.
Galvin added that not only was his organization concerned about what it sees as the lack of intelligence sharing within the force, but levels of training in how to deal with a terrorist incident were also falling short.
Galvin said his association had previously raised its concerns with Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.
Incoming AGSI President Antoinette Cunningham made comparisons with other police forces.
She said the Metropolitan Police in London had an updated brief on terror threats on its website. It provided information for the public on what constituted suspicious behavior. There was also a hotline the public could contact if they had concerns.
Cunningham said no similar information was available on the garda website.