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Thursday 23 March 2017

Ring of steel for Hillary's visit to capital

Tom Brady and Fionnan Sheahan

Garda chiefs are planning a major security operation to protect United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she visits here next month.

Ms Clinton, who is one of the top terrorist targets in the world, is flying to Dublin to attend an international security conference.

Planning to ensure the safety of Ms Clinton and other foreign VIPs will be finalised in the coming days.

Although it will be a major security headache, the operation will not be on the scale of those mounted last year for the visits of US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth.

A budget has been allocated by the Government and garda management has been warned they must stay within it.

The visits last year led to disputes over costs and these resulted in a lengthy delay before payments were made to the gardai involved.

Reduced resources have meant that overtime spending is being replaced by the greater flexibility introduced in the new work roster arrangements, which were agreed as part of the Croke Park deal.

But senior gardai said last night they were satisfied that the protection provided would not be scaled back next month.

Foreign ministers from 56 countries will attend the conference of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is being hosted by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore in the RDS on December 6 and 7.

It takes place after the delivery of Budget 2013.

The main security focus will be on the US, British and Russian delegations and, in particular, Ms Clinton, who may be making her final trip abroad as Secretary of State before her term in office ends.

Ms Clinton was invited to attend by Mr Gilmore, as Ireland currently chairs the international body, and her acceptance is a big boost for the Tanaiste.

Irish Independent

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