Thursday 18 December 2014

Taxpayer will foot the bill for security at European summit

Fionnan Sheahan and Tom Brady

Published 06/03/2014 | 02:30

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso ignored anti-austerity protests to pay tribute to Ireland’s economic sacrifices since 2008. Mr Barroso was in University College Cork (UCC) yesterday amid tight security to accept an honorary doctorate. Picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso ignored anti-austerity protests to pay tribute to Ireland’s economic sacrifices since 2008. Mr Barroso was in University College Cork (UCC) yesterday amid tight security to accept an honorary doctorate. Picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Protesters make their feelings known to José Manuel Barroso at University College Cork.

TAXPAYERS will have to foot a substantial security bill for some of the European leaders attending a two-day summit hosted by Fine Gael.

The organisers of the EPP conference will pay for part of the major security operation but a portion will be left to the State.

Fine Gael is hosting the pre-European elections conference of its EU grouping, the European People's Party (EPP).

The attendance of 12 EU Heads of Government, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, means there will be a massive security operation in Dublin city centre, particularly around the National Convention Centre.

The event is being attended by 2,000 delegates and 500 international media.

GUESTS

However, it is not clear how much of the cost of providing hundreds of gardai to carry out the security and traffic arrangements will come from the force's annual budget, where there is no special provision for funding the event.

The EPP says it is making a "substantial financial contribution" for the presence of the gardai at the event, but no figure was provided.

The cost of the security operation is not yet clear, nor is the divide between the EPP and the State.

"It is a political event, but, at the same time, many leaders are here to meet with the Taoiseach. As guests of the State, there is an official protocol," an EPP spokesperson said.

In response to queries last night, the Department of Justice did not provide a figure on the costs.

Irish Independent

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