Thursday 19 September 2019

FF in call for €11m to cover costs of Trump visit


High cost: Trump’s recent visit saw funds diverted from Garda training and technology
High cost: Trump’s recent visit saw funds diverted from Garda training and technology
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The Government should step in to cover the estimated €11m cost to An Garda of US President Donald Trump's visit to Ireland last month, Fianna Fáil has said.

It comes after the organisation representing rank-and-file members - the Garda Representative Association (GRA) - expressed alarm that training and technology budgets will be cut to pay for policing the visit.

The GRA also raised concern that an expected visit by US Vice President Mike Pence will bring further costs for the Garda.

Justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan called on Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to release funds to cover the cost. He said: "Funding for vital projects within An Garda Síochána has been diverted to cover costs incurred by the recent visit of US President Donald Trump. I understand budgets have been altered and badly needed reforms in IT services are now delayed.

"With a proposed visit by the US vice president expected in September we cannot allow further funding to be diverted from Garda resources."

Mr O'Callaghan added: "There is an €11m hole in the policing budget which can only be met in one of two ways, cuts to valuable projects which improve outcomes for policing, or by the Government stepping in to meet these costs."

A Garda spokesperson said the overall cost of the Trump visit had not yet been finalised. A statement added: "When this is done it will be the subject of the ongoing financial reporting to the Department of Justice."

Irish Independent

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