Belfast Telegraph

'Small few' extremists monitored

Ireland is monitoring a "small few" extremists who it is feared may be offering financial and other backing for jihadi terrorists, the justice minister has signalled.

In a briefing to her Cabinet colleagues in Dublin, Frances Fitzgerald said there was no specific information of a threat to Ireland but warned the Paris massacre has sparked a security review and she has ordered regular updates.

As part of the heightened international risk, the activities of a number of people are being closely watched, amid reports that terrorists are using the country as a hub to provide support for radicals travelling to Iraq and Syria.

It also known that a number of Irish citizens have travelled to fight abroad.

Ms Fitzgerald said Dublin was working with other countries and international law enforcement agencies to address the threat "from those who would seek to destroy our freedoms".

"The behaviour of the small few here who might try to facilitate international terrorism will continue to be monitored," she added.

"We should always bear in mind that the threat does not come from particular religions or communities.

"It comes from terrorists, who alone must bear the responsibility for their dreadful deeds."

The Fine Gael/Labour coalition is pushing the Terrorist Offences Bill through parliament next month, which will criminalise provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment for terrorism and training for terrorism.

Ms Fitzgerald said tight cooperation between the Garda (Irish police) and international counterparts will be enhanced where possible.

However, Garda chief Noirin O'Sullivan warned earlier this week it was "almost impossible" to carry out round-the-clock surveillance on suspects, and that detectives were looking for "indications" of suspicious activity by working closely with the Muslim community.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has previously said Ireland will take a zero tolerance approach to potential terrorists.

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