Saturday 18 November 2017

Plan to protect Michael D Higgins 'rejected'

Michael D Higgins
Michael D Higgins

Paul Williams

Gardaí had drawn up a comprehensive policing plan to coincide with President Michael D Higgins's visit to a Dublin school last week but it was rejected by senior management.

The Irish Independent has learned that local officers in Finglas had intelligence that protesters planned to target the President during his appearance at Colaiste Eoin.

There were concerns that a mob could try to trap Mr Higgins in his car, similar to what happened to Tánaiste Joan Burton last year.

Officers wanted extra gardaí to be drafted into the area and a Public Order Unit be placed on stand-by in case the situation turned nasty.

However, the plan was rejected in an email sent by a senior officer on the Monday of last week.

"A plan was in place because there was intelligence that trouble makers were going to abuse the President.

"But management are adopting a softly softly approach and the policing plan was rejected out of hand," said a source.

There has been widespread condemnation of the protesters after video emerged showing Mr Higgins being called a "midget parasite", a "sell-out" and a "traitor" because he signed the Water Service Bill.

It is understood that some protesters arrived at the school equipped with chains to lock the gates and prevent the President's State car from leaving.

Garda chiefs have now ordered a major review of Mr Higgins's security arrangements for future public engagements.

Since the incident, senior gardaí have contacted the President's Aide-de-camp to enquire for his welfare.

Irish Independent

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