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Question

307. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the security of the country following the attacks in Paris in France (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41378/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and the follow-on events in France and Belgium have focused Europe's attention very firmly on the threat from extremists linked to the conflict in Iraq and Syria. The subsequent attack in Mali clearly demonstrates the truly international dimensions of this issue.
While these events have been truly shocking they cannot be allowed to undermine the democratic values that characterise our societies.
The fact is that, just like other open and democratic states, Ireland cannot consider itself immune from the threat posed by international terrorism and extremism. However, while an attack is possible here, it is currently considered unlikely.
Unfortunately, the activities of a small number of people based here give rise to concern. However they will continue to be monitored closely and all appropriate measures will be taken in this regard but, for obvious security reasons, I cannot go into the details of the operational responses.
As I have already indicated, this is an international problem and a key element in dealing with these threats is good intelligence-sharing internationally. An Garda Síochána co-operates very closely with their EU and other international security and intelligence counterparts in responding to these threats.
I also met with my EU colleagues as recently as last Friday where a number of measures have been identified for progress, notably tighter controls on firearms and measures to further enhance intelligence sharing and exchange of information.
It is, of course, essential that at times like this entire communities are not stigmatised because of the actions of a few. It has to be recognised that the vast majority of people in our minority communities only wish to go about their daily lives in peace. It is very clear that the appalling actions of a small number of extremists, such as we have seen in Paris and elsewhere, do not reflect the views of the vast majority of the Muslim community in this country, or in other states.