Armed gardaí in Co Cork took part in a training exercise on Wednesday where they responded to a simulated lone wolf type attack and hostage situation in a city centre nightclub.
Around 60 people were involved in the training exercise to see how the Garda's general and specialist units along with the emergency services would respond to a nightclub type attack as happened in Miami in the US and Istanbul in Turkey.
The exercise was devised by a specialist Garda team comprising Sgt Peter Murphy, Sgt Tony Davis and Inspector Finbarr O'Sullivan and was some six weeks in preparation and lasted for around 40 minutes and involved around 60 observers as well as the participants.
Insp O’Sullivan said that the simulation, staged in Rearden’s Nightclub on Washington Street in Cork city centre, involved a lone attacker armed with a knife stabbing a number of people dancing at a disco before he took one of them hostage.
“We had security staff at the nightclub attending to those who were injured and then the National Ambulance people arriving and gardaí and then the RSU unit came to see what was happening and then it turned into a hostage situation where the attacker held a girl hostage.
“We then had to evacuate the nightclub while trying to negotiate with the hostage taker and he was persuaded to release the girl and then he was shot with a non-lethal weapon and subdued and arrested so it was a good training exercise for everyone.”
According to Insp O’Sullivan, gardaí categorised the event as “a critical incident” rather than a terrorist attack but it provided valuable training for regular Garda units and the RSU as well as ambulance personnel as well as Fire Service personnel to help make Cork city safe.
“There was a good interaction between the security staff and gardaí in terms of making the scene safe for medical responders to go in and treat the casualties - the setting was a supposedly nightclub at 1am on Saturday morning but it could just as easily have been a shopping centre or a school.”