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Gardai quiz residents along routes planned for queen's visit

GARDAI are interviewing every individual who lives along the routes Queen Elizabeth will be travelling during her historic visit next month.

The Irish Independent has learnt that gardai have been instructed to knock on every door and talk to each person who lives in the properties.

During an informal interview they are taking note of names, previous addresses, and the telephone numbers of the residents.

The move is part of a major security operation which has been put in place before the arrival of the queen from May 17 to 20.

Her itinerary includes trips to Aras an Uachtarain, the Garden of Remembrance and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. She is also travelling to Kildare, Tipperary and Cork.

In recent days gardai have begun calling to each apartment located along the northern quays.

The queen will travel along the quays when returning from visiting President McAleese in Aras an Uachtarain.

Gardai have also visited businesses located along Thomas Street, where she will travel when visiting the Storehouse.

Gardai have told those they have interviewed that they will destroy all notes when the queen's visit is completed.

Earlier this month Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan wrote to the Department of Justice seeking additional funding to cover the cost of security operations for both the queen's visit and that of US President Barack Obama.

Thousands of gardai are being deployed in each security operation. Although the additional cost of security is not known, it is expected to be in excess of €25m.

Last night a spokesman for the Department of Justice said it is not yet possible to determine how much expenditure will be involved.

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"While the financial requirements will undoubtedly be significant, the safety of the queen and the president will be the paramount considerations involved for the gardai and the State," he said.

However Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that, whatever the cost, the trips would pay for themselves in international goodwill, publicity and a boost in tourism.

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