Bombers targeted children to achieve maximum shock

No country ‘immune’ from terror threat, says Department of Justice

The people behind the Manchester bombing selected a venue attended by young people intentionally in order to generate the maximum “shock and awe factor”, a security analyst has said.

Sheelagh Brady, crime and security consultant at SAR Consultancy, told The Irish Times it had been a "well thought out attack" at a level that Europe has not seen before.

Ms Brady said the fact the suicide bomber struck after an Ariana Grande concert meant young people were most likely the intended target.

“It appears that where the explosion took place was chosen because it would have been a meeting point or collection point for many in attendance,” she said.


“This shows a degree of planning or awareness of what goes on at previous Manchester Arena events. The timing also seems to have been well thought out, in that, the individual who detonated the bomb probably saw people starting to leave the venue and detonated the bomb to have that element of control.”

Level of threat

Gardaí said the threat level in


remains unchanged following the bombing and that a terrorist attack in the State is possible but not likely.

“As always, we will continue to liaise closely with our security and law enforcement partners in the UK and internationally to share and assess any relevant intelligence,” a Garda spokesperson said.

"Ireland is a safe and secure environment. While there is no specific information in relation to any threat to Ireland from international terrorism, An Garda Síochána does not consider that Ireland is immune from this threat."

Young children

As searches continued by parents and friends searching for loved ones who attended the concert, Ms Brady said the fact that the event was attended by parents with young children was “chilling”. An attack on an older crowd, she added, might not have had “the same shock and awe factor that they obviously had planned”.

“I think the whole fact that children where the target audience of the concert, then therefore children were the target of the incident, brings this act to a level which we have not seen before or at least in Europe.

Ms Brady, who worked with An Garda Síochána for 14 years before moving to the international security area, said that in the short-term “security risk assessments” need to be carried out in Garda management.

“We need to give the public an insight. Ireland has taken the stance, or it appears that when it comes to national security little or nothing is said publicly and I do feel the UK system is much more empowering of the public. They understand where the threat level is at and they understand when and why that changes and I don’t think [Ireland] has that and, therefore, we can feel more vulnerable.”

Security and defence analyst Declan Power said he believed those who carried out the terrorist attack in Manchester selected the venue as they had identified "weaknesses".

“I don’t think it was any accident that this location was chosen, someone had obviously surveyed the location and found that this was a weak point in the security. You didn’t have to go through the doors with numerous security checks,” he said.

“They had access to a large group of people and the device which they used was simple enough but you still need to know what you are doing. They knew that detonating this device in an enclosed space with a large volume of people was going to give maximum ‘bang’ for their buck so to speak.”

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said attacks such as Monday’s are a reminder that “no state” can be considered “immune” from the threat from international terrorism and violent radical actions inspired by it.

‘Threat assessment’

“There has been no change to the threat assessment for Ireland. The threat assessment is that while an attack is possible, it is unlikely. The level of threat is kept under constant review by An Garda Síochána, particularly in the light of ongoing developments and the current international climate,” he said.

“The Garda authorities will continue to take all necessary security measures proportionate to the threat and all the relevant agencies here co-operate closely in respect of any threats identified. Of their very nature, it would be unwise to disclose publicly the detail of security measures.”