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Various security forces in Europe have been gradually adapting to the new terrorist threat reflected in recent years’ lethal attacks.
Ireland’s military special forces, the Army Ranger Wing (ARW), are to be given a more direct and high-profile role in responding to the threat of international terrorism spreading to Ireland.
The soldiers will increase cooperation with An Garda Síochána’s Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and the Armed Support Unit, who are currently the lead units ready to cope with a major terrorist attack, according to irishtimes.com.
Drawing the Army Rangers Wing into the State’s on-call response to a major terrorist incident will involve enhanced joint training exercises with the ERU and the ARU, including large scale public exercises.
The Army Ranger Wing, which is well-regarded internationally and is rerecognized articularly for its marksmanship capabilities, has long sought a stronger role for itself domestically.
Surrounded by considerable secrecy, the wing has approximately 100 members and is due to double in size under the 2015 Defence White Paper. They are based in the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) in the Curragh Camp and are on standby 24/7 to be called upon to undertake duties in any part of the country.
According to the military’s website, the Wing operates behind enemy lines (raids, ambushes, sabotage etc.), executes defensive operations (VIP protection, counter insurgency), extends aid to anti-terrrorist missions (anti-hijack and hostage rescue operations, search operations etc.), and advances the defense forces standards.
The development comes in the wake of the creation of the Government Security Committee. Senior Defence Forces and garda officers briefed senior Ministers on the terrorist threat, in which an attack is seen as possible though unlikely at present.
The Defence Forces said “the dynamic nature” of the international security threat requires the development of agreed protocols, joint seminars on response to a terrorist attack and exercises on crisis management.
Paul Kehoe, Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Defence said further exercises will be staged between the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána and the fire service, ambulance service and other response agencies.