Monday 21 October 2019

State pays Donald Trump's Doonbeg resort €113k to feed and accommodate gardaí during US President's visit

US President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump International in Doonbeg, Co Clare. Photos: Mark Condren
US President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump International in Doonbeg, Co Clare. Photos: Mark Condren

Gordon Deegan

The Donald Trump-owned Trump Doonbeg resort in Co Clare was paid over €107,000 to provide food to gardaí deployed around west Clare to protect the US President during his recent two-night visit.

A ‘ring of steel’ was placed around the luxury coastal resort for the visit in the first week in June as the Trump property enjoyed worldwide publicity from the Presidential visit.

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Now, new figures show that the Garda paid the Trump resort over €113,000 ifor catering and accommodation for the visit.

The total accommodation and catering bill from the Garda operation amounts to €904,553.

The figures show that the Trump Doonbeg resort received the highest amount of any enterprise providing catering services to gardaí, at €107,625 for the Presidential visit.

Read more: €18m garda spend on Trump and Pence visits 'was worth it' - Varadkar

Gardai patrol outside the Trump golf resort as it prepares for the visit of US President Donald Trump
Gardai patrol outside the Trump golf resort as it prepares for the visit of US President Donald Trump

In addition, Gardaí paid Trump Doonbeg €5,976 for accommodation.

The visit was the seventh visit by Mr Trump - his first as President - to Doonbeg since he purchased the resort for a knock-down price in 2014.

The Trump organisation has invested €40m into the resort - including the purchase price - over the past five years.

In total, 23 accommodation providers - mainly made up of Clare hotels - were paid €544,983 to accommodate gardaí during the Trump security operation.

Read more: 'People like my product, what can I tell you' - Trump denies he suggested Doonbeg hotel to Pence for US vice-president's visit to Ireland

The largest amount, however, went to the University of Limerick-owned student accommodation provider, Plassey Trust Company - it was paid €216,601.

The figures show that the 11 food providers received €359,579 from the Gardaí, with Trump Doonbeg receiving 30pc of that overall total.

Underlining the scale of the security operation for the Trump visit, the FOI response discloses that 3,820 gardaí received overtime payments in connection with the Trump visit - around 27pc of the overall strength of the Garda force of 14,251.

The size of the operation resulted in an over-time payout of €7.489m to gardaí.

A Garda spokesman said on Friday that the total Garda spend for the Trump visit at August 31st stood at €11.3m.

Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris disclosed on Thursday that the spend by the force in connection with the President Trump and Vice President, Mike Pence visits is in the order of €15m to €18m.

Read more: 'It’s odd, he's a multi-multi-millionaire' - golf expert on Trump leaving Doonbeg with a shiny new driver

The top-earning Garda member from the Trump operation received €12,915 in overtime payments and was followed by colleagues who received €11,093 and €10,608 in overtime.

The figures show that another 37 suppliers were paid a total of €844,872 for various services connected to the Garda operation and the biggest winner there was billionaire Denis O’Brien’s Actavo Events Ireland Ltd, which received €269,208 for the ‘hire of equipment’.

A number of bus operators were deployed to transport the gardaí and the figures show that Bus Éireann was paid €169,650; Scales Bus Tours Ltd was paid €145,800 while Mike Hynan Coach Services receiving €46,000.

The Gardaí also paid Anderco Safety (Irl) Ltd €47,164 for ‘clothing’, while Wellness Mineral Water Ltd was paid €7,894 for bottled water.

Other accommodation providers to receive in excess of €20,000 to accommodate gardaí during the security operation include Property Management Ireland Ltd - €39,050; Lahinch Coast Hotel - €33,180; Hotel Woodstock - €28,512; Clare Coast Hotels €25,200; Kilkee Bay Hotel - €22,150; The Inn at Dromoland - €21,900 and Treacy’s Oakwood Hotel €20,940.

The visit was a boon for a number of Clare businesses which provided food for the Gardaí - along with Trump Doonbeg receiving €107,625, Treacy’s Oakwood Hotel received €75,379 for catering; Kilkee Bay Hotel received €64,050; the Bellbridge Hotel at Spanish Point received €37,872 while the Shannon Springs Hotel received €21,101.

Trump Doonbeg referred queries on the catering services provided to Gardaí to the Trump Organisation in the US and no response has issued from the Trump Organisation.

Watch: WATCH: Crowd cheers at Trump's third attempt to hit golf ball uphill at Doonbeg

The Gardaí were also unable to provide additional detail relating to the scale of the catering services provided by Trump Doonbeg to the force.

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