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Elite team tasked with top security role for trip

CLOSE protection for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip is being provided by highly trained members of the garda's elite anti-terrorist squad, the Emergency Response Unit.

The ERU officers took up positions around the queen shortly after she arrived at Baldonnel and will remain by her side throughout her stay.

The royals are being accompanied by less than 10 members of the queen's regular protection group, in accordance with standard practice. The protection officers travel with the queen whenever she visits another country.

The number of officers involved is increased if Prince Philip is accompanying the queen.

They act mainly as liaison officers with the gardai this week and help to ensure the smooth running of the security arrangements.

But primary responsibility for the queen's security remains with the ERU, which is part of the Garda Special Branch.

Officers last night dismissed some media suggestions that 120 British officers had been deployed here for the visit.

It was pointed out that every head of state is accompanied by personal protection officers during an overseas visit.

President Mary McAleese normally travels with three or four of her protection unit when she leaves the country.

Irish Independent