Country Report on Terrorism 2014 - Chapter 2 - Ireland

Overview: The United States and Ireland worked closely in bilateral and regional counterterrorism, law enforcement, and information sharing efforts. Garda Síochána (the local and national police service of Ireland, referred to as Garda in this report) has comprehensive law enforcement, immigration, investigative, intelligence, and counterterrorism responsibilities.

In 2014, there were incidents carried out in Ireland by dissident republican groups (sometimes referred to as criminal terrorist groups by the Irish Department of Justice). Some violent actions committed in neighboring Northern Ireland by members of dissident groups were traced back to support provided by persons living in Ireland. Attacks were directed at Northern Ireland’s law enforcement personnel and security structures to disrupt ongoing post-peace process community rehabilitation efforts. Irish authorities worked to address these legacy issues stemming from “The Troubles,” and were actively involved in dealing with transnational terrorism issues. The targets for other attacks by dissident republican groups in Ireland have been other republican factions, and the incidents often involve criminal activity. Major Garda successes in disrupting the activities of such groups and infighting between dissident factions seem to have weakened threat capabilities.

Ireland is a member of the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

2014 Terrorist Incidents: There were no significant terrorist attacks in 2014. As of the end of November, however, there were 127 bomb squad mobilizations for possible improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2014, 43 of which resulted in the discovery of viable IEDs that were subsequently disarmed by Ireland’s Army bomb disposal teams. The list below details terrorism-related incidents reported in the public domain.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In 2014, the Dáil (Irish Lower House) voted to renew the Offenses Against the State (Amendment) Act, which was first introduced following an IRA bombing in Omagh in 1998 that killed 29 people. The amendment allows for the drawing of inferences in certain circumstances in prosecutions and created offenses such as directing an unlawful organization, a category which includes the IRA. The law also extends the maximum detention time without being formally charged to 72 hours.

Ireland also introduced the Criminal (Terrorist Offenses) (Amendment) Act 2014 which would create three new terrorism offenses. The bill transposes into Irish law an EU Council Framework Decision on counterterrorism. When enacted, the offenses would be: public provocation to commit a terrorist offense, recruitment for terrorism, and training for terrorism. The new offenses would carry sentences of up to 10 years imprisonment upon conviction.

Law enforcement units have effectively demonstrated their capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents. The Garda Special Branch provides specialized law enforcement capability and has primary responsibility for counterterrorism response, with the military performing specific functions when requested by the civil authorities.

Ireland works closely with the UK on border security, including the sharing of biographic and biometric information. Ireland has been active in highlighting the need for the sharing of passenger name records (PNR) on flights in the EU.

Significant law enforcement action against terrorists or terrorists groups in 2014 included:

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Ireland is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Egmont Group, a global association of financial intelligence units. The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Bill of 2010 enacted the EU’s third money-laundering directive into Irish law, giving effect to several of the FATF Recommendations. In 2014, the Criminal Justice Act 2013 which amended the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 by providing for the cessation of mobile communications services where necessary for the aversion of terrorist threats went into effect.

A June 2013 FATF review found that Ireland relies exclusively on the EU listing system in relation to UN Security Council Resolution 1373 and that there is still no mechanism in Ireland for the immediate freezing of funds of EU “internal” or “domestic” terrorists that fall outside this EU list. However, Irish Criminal Justice legislation does provide a legal basis for immediate asset freezing if such crimes are suspected.

Law enforcement authorities monitor non-profit organizations for purposes of monitoring breaches of criminal law, but Ireland has yet to fully implement the Charities Act of 2009, which regulates the activities of charities and non-profit organizations in Ireland.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes

Regional and International Cooperation: Ireland works closely with the UK in securing the Common Travel Area (CTA). The introduction of the British Irish visa required the sharing of biometric and other information. The net result was a more integrated system for checking travelers. Ireland participated in an ad hoc grouping of ministers from nine EU countries that met to discuss issues related to stopping the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.

In addition to counterterrorism capacity building overseas, Ireland also cooperated on counterterrorism efforts with Northern Ireland. The Irish Defense Forces provide a robust explosive ordnance disposal capability to the civil authorities, routinely deploying to investigate and disarm ordnance around the country. The 2 Brigade, which is responsible for the Dublin area and a significant portion of the territory along the border with Northern Ireland, has responded to 79 reports of explosive devices in 2014 through November.

Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Government of Ireland’s efforts to counter radicalization to violence focused on integrating minority groups into Irish society. These measures included providing social benefits, language training, health care, and the proactive advocacy work of an Ombudsman’s office in the affairs of immigrants. Through the Garda Racial, Intercultural, and Diversity Office, police officers are provided special training to assist with at-risk populations.

The primary strategy used by the Irish government is the Ethnic Liaison Officer program of the Garda. These officers liaise with representatives of the various minority communities in an area, and establish communication links with each of these communities. They support integration by involving members of ethnic minority communities in Garda and community social events.