I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 40 together.
The most important defence against any terrorist attacks is detection and prevention by the security forces. While the Garda Síochána has the primary responsibility for law and order, one of the roles assigned to the Defence Forces is the provision of aid to the civil power, meaning in practice to assist, when requested, the Garda Síochána. The various components of the Defence Forces are active in this regard, providing such assistance as is appropriate in specific circumstances.
The level of any terrorist threat to Ireland is continually assessed. The advice available to me would suggest that while the terrorist threat to parts of Europe is currently high, in relation to Ireland, it is low. However it is prudent that we take precautions and keep matters under continuous review.
The Defence Forces make contingency plans for a range of scenarios where the State may be at risk. An urgent and detailed review to deal with a range of emergency situations was undertaken by the military authorities following the events of 11 September. It included, inter alia, an update of the threat assessment, intensive contacts with other State agencies, a reassessment of operations orders relating to vital installations, alert systems, the Army ranger wing, ordnance and engineer aspects in terms of explosive ordnance disposal and specialist search and a review of equipment including the need for air defence. All matters arising were addressed and all procedures updated as required.
The capacity of the Defence Forces to deal with major emergencies is kept under constant review. Plans and procedures are updated as necessary and such additional equipment as is required to address any perceived deficiencies is acquired on the basis of identified priorities. Training and preparation for such events is also provided for in the Defence Forces annual training plan.
The most important defence against any attack is of course external vigilance, detection and prevention by the security forces. All the necessary resources of the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces are deployed to this end.