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Sunday 25 August 2019

'No indication of any trouble ahead' - 1,500 gardai prepare for Donald Trump visit

Supt Brendan McDonagh watches over things in the Garda strategic operations control centre inside Shannon Garda station. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Supt Brendan McDonagh watches over things in the Garda strategic operations control centre inside Shannon Garda station. Picture; Gerry Mooney
The Garda strategic operations control centre inside Shannon Garda station. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

As final preparations are made for the arrival of US President Trump at Shannon airport, Garda have said there is no indication of any trouble ahead.

At a press conference at Shannon town, Chief Superintendent Michael Gubbins said they have 1,500 members on the ground.

He said it was “quite a large operation” and that the last time they had one of this scale was the visit of former US President George Bush in 2004.

Inside the Strategic Control Centre set up especially at the Garda Garda station in Shannon, which is being manned on a 24 hour basis, officers were keeping a close eye on large screens showing CCTV footage from cameras at Doonbeg Golf Resort, Shannon airport and approaching roads.

About a dozen additional cameras had been installed especially for the duration of the visit by President Trump.

They will also have access to a live feed from the Garda helicopter when Airforce One arrives.

Another map on screen showed the location of all the Garda radios on the ground.

Superintendent Liam Geraghty of the Garda Press Office said they have human rights advisers, tactical advisers on fire arms and a negotiators advisers all on site.

Meanwhile on the outskirts of Shannon airport, the Peace Camp for protesters was being assembled, with a large white tent and a rainbow peace flag planted in the ground.

On bridges approaching the airport, hung several banners reading “US war machine out of Shannon”.

The massive Garda operation involves members from the Emergency Response Unit, Armed Support Unit, the Public Order Unit and the Water Unit, involving four Ribs and sub aqua divers.

The air support unit, 16 members of the Dog Unit and 10 members from the Mounted Unit are also involved, along with the DMR Roads policing escort Unit and the telecommunications unit.

The operation will see 8,500 meals a day being served and 40,000 bottles of water consumed.

A permanent benefit from the visit saw the upgrading of telecommunications and tetra radios infrastructure in the Clare Division.

Garda have said that traffic restrictions will be kept to the minimum required and should not impact greatly on normal traffic in Shannon and the Doonbeg regions.

Normal operations will continue at Shannon airport though passengers are advised to allow extra travelling time due to with additional security checks and Garda presence ongoing within the environs of the airport.

No on street parking is allowed anywhere working the environs is the airport except in designated areas.

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