| 8.1°C Dublin

Martin Callinan: I had ‘private audience’ with queen

I was honoured during the historic visit of Queen Elizabeth II to have been invited to a private audience with her and Prince Philip.

Queen Elizabeth thanked me and all members of An Garda Siochana for our work in policing her visit to Ireland.

Over the past weeks we have been involved in planning and implementing the largest ever policing operation in our history with the visits of both the queen and US Presiden Barack Obama.



The challenges were many and we faced many hurdles.



But by harnessing the strengths and experience of a well trained, equipped and outward looking police force, I believe we found the right balance between facilitating the visits of our important guests and allowing the community to participate and enjoy this important period in Irish life.

The operation over the period of the two visits involved in excess of 8,000 Gardai who were drawn from all over the country.



Travel and accommodation had to be arranged, which involved 12,000 personnel movements, reserving 15,000 beds in five hotels and arranging catering at numerous locations in Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary and Cork.



Here, the Defence Forces were of great assistance by providing catering facilities to Gardai working in the Kildare operation.

My executive directors of ICT and finance played important roles and provided essential support to the operation.



In particular, the telecommunications section ensured that all Gardai were equipped with radios and could communicate using a range of channels on the Tetra radio system.



On the Wednesday of the Queen’s visit, over 4,300 users were logged on to the Tetra system.



This was a record number of users and the system worked very well. In addition, officers in each of the command centres were able to direct operations using the radio system and enhanced use of CCTV systems.



The Garda Air Support Unit provided a live down-link to the command centres of areas being visited.



That unit along with the Garda Water and Dog Units carried out searches and patrols in advance and throughout the visit.

What also gave me huge encouragement was the understanding, cooperation and support from so many people who appreciated what we had to do to make the visits a success and demonstrate to the world that despite our current difficulties we are a people who pride ourselves on our long and honourable tradition of making visitors welcome and safe.

What was so encouraging but not surprising for me was the way my whole organisation responded to the challenges and clearly focused on delivering a robust policing plan to meet the requirements of all those involved and affected by the visits of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and President Barack Obama.







I want to thank the men and women of An Garda Síochána for their dedication, professionalism and committment.



Thousands of Gardai worked long hours in difficult conditions and showed high levels of patience and resilience over a long and challenging operation.



I am immensely proud of the force that I lead.

Our colleagues in the Defence Forces, again, deserve a special mention as they were of huge assistance to us, both in the preparation for the recent visits and while they were taking place.



We are also very grateful to key organisations including the other emergency services, the health services, the business community, local authorities, public transport companies and civic authorities, who yet again provided support and commitment to the overall operation.

The structure of the garda organisation allowed me and my senior management team to put a national plan in place based on the policing arrangements required in each of the four regions which would be visited.



Throughout the planning period I chaired meetings which were attended by my deputy commissioner (Operations) Noirin O’Sullivan and each of the assistant commissioners from the four regions; Michael Feehan from the Dublin metropolitan region, Dermot Jennings from the Eastern region, Kevin Ludlow from the South Eastern region and Wille Keane from the Southern region.



Also playing a very important role were my Assistant Commissioners in other key areas, John O’Mahony in crime and security, Fintan Fanning in human resources and Derek Byrne in national support services.



What we all had to remember throughout the planning and operational stage, of course, was that normal policing had to take place as well.



In addition, officers throughout the country, and particularly in the Northern region, were giving extra attention to areas where security threats were an issue.



We also consulted with and received great assistance from our law enforcement colleagues in the UK and the US.



The PSNI as always, were at hand in terms of security issues and also gave us logistical support by providing us with two water cannons for use in public order incidents.



I am delighted that the water cannons were not deployed and that the small number of public order incidents that did occur was well handled by my people on the ground.

The logistical aspect of the operation demanded huge levels of dedication and commitment.



This was particularly the case when sewers, drains and other areas had to searched and secured.



We also had to allocate gardai to search teams, static posts and extensive patrols in large open rural areas for long periods.

An Garda Siochana is an organisation that achieves through people. We are physically present on streets and roads interacting with people and getting things done. The operation over the period of the two visits involved in excess of eight thousand gardai who were drawn from all over the country.



Travel and accommodation had to be arranged, which involved 12,000 personnel movements, reserving 15,000 beds in five hotels and arranging catering at numerous locations in Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary and Cork..



Here again, the Defence Forces were of great assistance by providing catering facilities to Gardai working in the Kildare operation.

My Executive Directors of ICT and Finance played important roles and provided essential support to the operation.



In particular, the Telecommunications Section ensured that all gardai were equipped with radios and could communicate using a range of channels on the Tetra radio system.



On the Wednesday of the Queen’s visits over 4,300 users were logged on to the Tetra system.



This was a record number of users and the system worked very well. In addition, officers in each of the command centres were able to direct operations using the radio system and enhanced use of CCTV systems.



The Garda Air Support Unit provided a live down-link to the command centres of areas being visited.



That unit along with the Garda Water and Dog Units carried out searches and patrols in advance and throughout the visit.

What also gave me huge encouragement was the understanding, cooperation and support from so many people who appreciated what we had to do to make the visits a success and demonstrate to the world that despite our current difficulties we are a people who pride ourselves on our long and honourable tradition of making visitors welcome and safe.

The established and well developed relationships with our partner agencies, the business community and, most importantly, the community we serve provided us with the platform from which to launch our policing operations.

It was an important moment for our country as the eyes of the world looked on. Ireland did itself proud and I am proud that the men and women of An Garda Síochána played a key part in making that possible.



Martin Callinan is Garda Commissioner.