Gardaí have confirmed they are in contact with Interpol to assess the possibility of any terror threat in the lead-up to Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann next month.
Superintendent Brendan McDonagh has told The Clare Champion that the assessment of a threat is intelligence-led and that Clare gardaí are in regular contact with Interpol and colleagues in Britain, France and other EU countries.
He said there will be a strong visible presence of gardaí on the streets of Ennis during the Fleadh and, in addition to calling in all available resources in the division, he said extra assistance can be used from other counties, if necessary.
Adrian Jackson of Safety Solutions said discussions on how to deal with a terror attack have been held with local gardaí. While he wasn’t at liberty to outline what these arrangements are for security reasons, as event controller he said he would be guided by the advice of the gardaí.
“We bow to the greater knowledge of Clare gardaí in terms of the level of threat and level of response. I am confident the gardaí have structures in place for this threat,” he said.
In the event of an incident, he said Safety Solutions would revert to adopting an advisory role in terms of assisting gardaí, who would assume overall responsibility. However, he pointed out that the wider event plan is still something that could be utilised in an emergency situation.
Commenting on a recently-held emergency exercise, he said the emergency services and Safety Solutions have examined different events, including last year’s Fleadh, which has helped to ensure systems will work.
He also confirmed that no request has been made for additional opening hours in Ennis Hospital or University Hospital Limerick. “The Fleadh has to stand on its own two feet and operate independently from the other health services. The medical structure for the event is robust. The structure is there and the personnel are there. If we are going beyond what the event licence can deal with, we are going into major emergency territory, which is really a national or regional response.
“A GP, nurses and advanced paramedics will be stationed in the special medical centre in the Scouts Hall on Station Road. Roving cover will be provided earlier in the week by the Civil Defence, which includes people who are advanced paramedics.
“Ambulances will be stationed at high-intensity points, such as where Fleadh TV are located in Ennis Market, Bank Place and adjacent to Abbey Street car park,” he noted, adding that they also have patient transfer buggies to access some of the narrower streets in the town.
“It has been indicated to us that in previous fleadhanna, even in towns where there were 24-hour services, that generally the activity in the emergency department was comparable to or less than the weekends before and after the event,” Mr Jackson said