Protection operation hailed as a success by our forces
Published 24/05/2011 | 05:00
GARDA and Army chiefs last night hailed the success of the massive security operation to protect US President Barack Obama.
Eight thousand gardai and 1,800 members of the Defence Forces were involved in the biggest one-day operation ever mounted here.
Weeks of intensive surveillance of known sympathisers linked to the network of international terrorist cells ensured that officers could identify the source of potential threats and liaise with overseas agencies to monitor the connections.
A series of contingency plans had already been worked out well in advance in talks between senior gardai and advance teams from the US Secret Service and alternative plans were in place to cope with a forced change of schedule.
Despite the close proximity of Queen Elizabeth's visit, arrangements had been finalised by the weekend and organisers were confident before Air Force One touched down at Dublin Airport yesterday morning that all possible precautions had been taken.
Some of the deployments implemented for the queen's schedule last week remained in place yesterday, with troops located throughout the weekend at Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, and garda and Army elite units ready for an immediate callout.
A senior garda officer said last night: "Once the funding had been made available, we were able to use the resources that were necessary to ensure that all of our plans could be put into action.
"And the feedback we have received from both British and US authorities has been very positive.
"The visits have also been very beneficial to the force and to the military, particularly the younger personnel, who have not been involved in large-scale operations previously," the officer added.
The visits also provided an opportunity for the Army to make real-time use of their latest surveillance equipment, which had only been used previously in a Nordic battlegroup exercise in Sweden last October.
Irish Independent Supplement