Monday 27 February 2017

Mary Kenny: Gardai did great job for royals but blanket security is too unwieldy

Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

Tight security surrounded the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Dublin last week
Tight security surrounded the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Dublin last week

I can't think of anyone who wasn't impressed by the way the gardai carried out their security duties last week, and will do so again this week.

They really were wonderful: unfailingly polite and good-tempered, too, in the face of occasional exasperated responses from some of us. I feel somewhat ashamed of the way in which I sometimes berated kindly young country guards around Dublin Castle because they insisted I walked the long way around to the back, Ship Street, entrance, instead of the 10 yards into the media centre via the front. I was late for a BBC radio interview and I thought common sense and the plethora of identity papers I had on me would let me slip through, but it was not to be. Rules were rules.

It was a tense afternoon, hours before the President's banquet for the queen, and the constabulary had their orders. An angry, raggle-taggle band of mainly young men supporting the dissident IRA movements were on the march. And, as I say, the guards themselves remained unflappable and courteous at all times. Moreover, the security operation was an unqualified success in that our visitors came to no harm.

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