Garda resources in Donegal will be stretched to the bare minimum during Queen Elizabeth’s visit later this month due to the number of gardaí from the county being deployed to help police the historic event.
Thousands of gardaí from all over the country are being deployed during the four-day visit which will see a ‘ring of steel’ strung around Dublin.
The massive security operation has created a logistical headache for the force here as officers establish what resources will be left in the county and when gardaí will be available to return to duty following the visit.
All Garda leave has been cancelled for the visit. One Garda source said there will be a “normal level” of cover left in the county but the number of gardaí available here will be “down to the bare bone”. “There are a lot of us going. There will be the same cover as on any other day but there will be no extra cover. It is the logistics of making sure there is enough left behind, but there will be,” the source said. “Every district in the country is planning this at the moment.”
Security along the border is also expected to be high with the movements of dissident republicans on both sides being watched carefully amid fears that they will attempt to mount an attack during the visit of Queen Elizabeth.
Massive amounts of Garda resources will be used in efforts to prevent street violence or terrorist attacks especially during the Royal visits to Croke Park and the Garden of Remembrance.
The cost of Queen Elizabeth’s visit is expected to be close to n30m.
The length of the visit, from May 17th to May 20th, is likely to add to the strain on Garda resources and the issuing of the itinerary so far in advance has given ample opportunity to those who may wish to disrupt the visit.
Garda resources from the county are not expected at this stage to be involved in the visit of US President Barack Obama on May 23rd and 24th.
Up to 8,000 Garda, army and civilian personnel are to be involved in both visits.
The historic visit by Queen Elizabeth will be the first time a British monarch has visited the country since before partition.
Queen Elizabeth will visit the Taoiseach at Government Buildings, Aras an Uachtarain, and Trinity College in the capital as well as the National Stud in Kildare, Cashel, in Co Tipperary, and Cork.
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