Gardai on high alert as Clinton begins visit
Major security operation for international conference
A MAJOR security operation swung into action last night as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched down at Dublin Airport.
Mrs Clinton is among foreign ministers from more than 40 countries attending an international security conference at the RDS today and tomorrow.
Most of the garda focus is on Mrs Clinton, who is one of the top terrorist targets in the world.
A detailed sweep of the airport was carried out by a garda search team and her route into the city centre was also closely monitored.
This morning she is due to attend the opening of the conference of the ministerial council of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which is hosted by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore as Ireland has the presidency this year.
More than 1,500 delegates, officials and media have been arriving for the event.
This afternoon, Mrs Clinton will deliver a lecture on human rights The Helix at Dublin City University and will be met there by Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and DCU president Brian MacCraith.
Immediately afterwards, she travels to Government Buildings for a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
She will fly to Belfast tomorrow to discuss the peace process and investment opportunities before concluding her four-day visit to Europe with trips to the Czech Republic and Belgium.
Gardai have drawn up contingency plans to cope with planned protests related to the conference as well as demonstrations arising out of the Budget announcements.
They will be working on a restricted budget as there is no overtime available, but garda chiefs are confident they will be able to provide a proper policing service, based on the new flexible rostering arrangements.
Mrs Clinton will be accompanied by her own agents but protection will also be provided by officers from the Garda’s Emergency Response Unit.
While some of the main VIPs are landing at Dublin Airport, others are flying into the Air Corps base at Baldonnel and troops have been drafted in to provide security for the aircraft.
An additional engineer search and clearance team and an extra Army bomb disposal team have both been placed on stand-by for the event.
Gardai said peaceful protests would be allowed, but security would be tight around the RDS during the conference and Anglesea Road and adjoining avenues were being closed.