Minister Flanagan addresses Seanad on Ireland’s response to ISIS Threat11 June 2015
This morning (Thursday), the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, addresses the Seanad on the response by Ireland to the threat of ISIS terrorism.
“While ISIS poses a limited threat at present to the EU and Ireland, there can be little doubt of its ambitions to export its violence and terror to Europe.
“We are working closely with our partners in the EU and through the United Nations to coordinate our efforts and to strengthen the tools at our disposal. The February EU Foreign Affairs Council, which I attended, conclusions set out five priorities in combating terrorism internationally: strengthening partnerships with key countries; supporting capacity building; countering radicalisation and violent extremism; promoting international cooperation and addressing underlying factors and crises.
“Following a special meeting of the European Council, EU Heads of State and Government set out a range of priorities to guide further work by the Foreign Affairs and Justice and Home Affairs Councils. These priorities were set out under three headings: ensuring the security of citizens, preventing radicalisation and safeguarding values, and cooperating with our international partners.
“Ireland co-sponsored the unanimous UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014) on foreign terrorist fighters and the EU’s approach is consistent with the UN approach.
“The Resolution takes a comprehensive, human rights compliant approach to tackling the foreign fighters problem in accordance with international law. It highlights the need to tackle the underlying causes of radicalisation through community outreach initiatives, while at the same time focusing on strengthening legal and security measures. This comprehensive strategy in the Resolution is in line with Ireland’s approach to the issue.
“Our approach nationally combines preventive measures and capacity to prosecute terrorist-related behaviour. While an attack on Ireland is possible it is not assessed as likely and there is no specific information in relation to a threat to Ireland. There are a small number of people based here who support extremism. The activities of these people are closely monitored by An Garda Síochána.
“An Garda Síochána also keeps the level of threat from international terrorism under continuous review in light of ongoing developments and continues to take appropriate measures to counteract this threat. In this they have the full support of the Government. In tandem with that the Gardaí operate a progressive community relations programme, engaging with all minority communities in the State, through the Racial Inter-Cultural and Diversity Office.
“Our approach nationally combines preventive measures and capacity to prosecute terrorist-related behaviour and Minister Fitzgerald has been very active in this area. In terms of preventive measures, An Garda Síochána monitors the movements of those suspected of involvement in extremist behaviour. In tandem with that the Gardaí operate a progressive community relations programme through the Racial Inter-Cultural and Diversity Office.
“As regards capacity to prosecute, existing 2005 legislation already provides for the offences of terrorist bombing and terrorist financing. We recently enacted the Criminal Justice(Terrorist Offences) (Amendment) Act 2015, which created three new offences: public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment for terrorism and training for terrorism.
“A comprehensive solution to the challenge posed by ISIS must also embrace efforts to promote a political settlement in Syria, based on the Geneva principles, as well as international support for the new unity Government in Iraq , encouraging it to pursue inclusivity and reconciliation. We also recognise also the immense humanitarian impact of the current conflict and to date we have committed over €41 million to humanitarian relief since the beginning of the Syrian conflict.
“The barbaric violence and culture of hatred which fuels ISIS’ campaign of terror is utterly unacceptable to Ireland and the wider world and is a threat to the values of freedom and human dignity which we espouse. ISIS’s actions are harmful first and foremost the people of the Middle East region, especially women and girls; ethnic and religious minorities such as Christians and Yezidis; members of the gay community; and other vulnerable groups who are the principal victims of ISIS’s inhumane actions.
“I also condemn the wilful destruction of cultural artefacts and ancient buildings in the Middle East, the Cradle of Civilisation, which constitute irreplaceable loses to the history of humankind.”
11 June 2015