Gardai seal off 1916 memorial where monarch will lay wreath
The security operation to protect Queen Elizabeth visibly swung into operation last night with the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin closed off to the public a full seven days ahead of the historic visit.
The queen is expected to lay a wreath at the gardens to those who fought for Ireland's independence after she arrives in Baldonnel airbase on Tuesday.
All around the city gardai were tightening up security for a visit that will be beamed all around the world.
Barriers were placed around entrances to the historic site at Parnell Square and gardai took up positions to secure the area. A sign placed at the entrance said the gardens were closed for security reasons due to the royal visit.
Meanwhile, motorists in Dublin, Cork, Tipperary, Kildare and Meath will be subject to wide-ranging traffic restrictions during the visits of Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama.
Parking bans on city streets will be enforced, diversions put in place and delays on public transport services expected from next Saturday until Wednesday, May 25.
Gardai yesterday released details of the major traffic diversions and policing plan that will apply during the high-profile visits. Pedestrians were also warned they could be searched, and will only be allowed cross city streets at designated points.
The massive policing operation for the visit of the queen from next Tuesday to Friday is complicated by a high-profile soccer match at the Aviva stadium. The UEFA Europa League final takes place next Wednesday between Portuguese teams Porto and Braga, with 40,000 fans expected to travel.
Dublin Zoo is also closed on May 17 and May 23 because the queen and Mr Obama will be travelling to the Phoenix Park.
Commuters using DART and Luas services may be subject to short delays of up to 20 minutes if motorcades are in the area. Comprehensive policing plans are in place for all of these events, with gardai to give daily briefings over the next two weeks with details of each event and location and the traffic restrictions in place.
"Our priority is to ensure the safety and security of all individuals and members of the public attending events as well as keeping commuters and general traffic moving and commercial activity operating as normal," a garda spokesman said.
"We are working with local traders and businesses to minimise disruption to their workers and customers and are liaising closely with all of our partner agencies, including local councils and public transport companies."
Gardai warned that the public should plan for longer journey times. The restrictions come into effect from this Saturday, and will remain in force until after Mr Obama leaves.
"All train services will run as normal but there will be very narrow windows of time when people are moving around the city where services will be suspended," an Iarnrod Eireann spokesman said yesterday.
"These will occur only at very specific points in time, and the delays will be no more than 10 to 20 minutes."