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Attackers rounds up passengers as hostages during a bilateral training exercise between An Garda Siochana and the Defence Force,s hosted at Shannon Airport. Photograph by John Kelly.

Anti-Terror Exercise Staged at Shannon Airport

Members of the Emergency Response Unit, Regional Armed Support Unit and Garda Air Support Unit as well as the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit were involved in a simulated anti-terrorism training exercise at Shannon Airport this Tuesday morning.

The staged event saw the airport being stormed by an armed group, calling themselves the Doomsday Cult. During the simulated attack, the terrorist group fired blank rounds of ammunition at trainee gardaí who were acting as passengers in the departures lounge of Shannon Airport.

As the exercise progressed it triggered a coordinated armed response from members of the Garda Air Support Unit, the Defence Forces, the naval service, the air corps, the EOD, and Shannon Airport personnel .

The situation then moved to a hostage negotiation scenario where a tactical team was deployed to reason with the terrorist group and recover the hostages.

The exercise was staged at Shannon Airport between 2.30pm and 4pm on Tuesday and involved upwards of 130 individuals. The operation was conducted in such a way that the participants were not aware of how the scenarios would play out.

To simulate a real life incident fake blood was used on the casualties and blank rounds were also fired.

This is the first time that a simulated terrorist training event of this scale has been held at Shannon Airport and it follows similar training exercises held in the Docklands Railway Station in Dublin and in Dublin Port.

Following the training event a “hot debrief” was held to analyse the outcomes and the procedures implemented during the exercise. This was lead by Inspector Kieran Ruane, of Ennis Garda Station who was overseeing the operation.

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