Armed gardai for U2 and Coldplay Croker gigs in wake of terror attacks in Britain
THE Garda Armed Support Unit (ASU) will patrol the Coldplay and U2 concerts at Croke Park in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Britain.
Security levels will be heightened ahead of the two sell-out gigs, each of which will be attended by more than 82,000 fans.
Coldplay will take to the stage on Saturday with their Head Full Of Dreams Tour, while U2 will bring their Joshua Tree Tour to the stadium on July 22.
Up to 1,000 security guards will be patrolling the stadium on both days as part of the organisers' policing strategy.
Nearly 200 gardai will be present each time.
Insp Tony Gallagher, of Mountjoy Garda Station, confirmed that members of the ASU will be in attendance at both concerts.
He declined to say how many would be there, for operational reasons.
"It's a component of our plan," he said.
"Our plan is to deal with any kind of eventuality so we do have a response to it, but it's a reassurance model in terms of the overall package, in terms of policing the event.
"Of course, we would be naive not to have an awareness of what's going on in Europe and that's what we say when we talk about a component of a plan that might respond to that.
"Armed personnel are a feature of a lot of the events that we run at Croke Park."
Insp Gallagher added that, while the level of threat from a terrorist attack in Ireland remains "moderate", armed gardai are present "at all these events". Event controller Eamonn Fox said they have always had "very tight security" in place, but they have increased it in the wake of recent events.
"The additional bag search is something we had done before on the pitch areas and now we've increased it to the seating area, so it's heightened our awareness," he said.
The usual ban on large backpacks will be enforced, and anyone attending is advised to allow extra time for security checks and to use public transport where possible.
According to stadium director Peter McKenna, the two gigs are worth €80m to the local economy.