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Security for Obama trip will cost us up to €4m

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US First Lady Michelle Obama and her youngest daughter, Sasha (12). Photo: Colin Keegan / Collins

US First Lady Michelle Obama and her youngest daughter, Sasha (12). Photo: Colin Keegan / Collins

US First Lady Michelle Obama and her youngest daughter, Sasha (12). Photo: Colin Keegan / Collins

THE Garda cost of the Obama security operation for Irish taxpayers will run to about €4m.

While the final amount has not been calculated, Garda sources say it is not expected to go beyond this amount.

An estimated 900 garda personnel took part in the operation, despite the fact that the G8 summit took place in Enniskillen across the border.

violent

Gardai placed a series of static checkpoints on the border to monitor and control traffic movement and the possibility of any violent protests or terror threats.

Members of the force also patrolled the border area, setting up checkpoints, and hundreds of gardai from all over the country were drafted in to the northern operation where they were given accommodation and subsistence allowances.

The costs also included garda overtime and equipment such as barriers for crowd control.

When First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Malia (14) and Sasha (12) came to Dublin and stayed at the Shelbourne Hotel, surrounding streets had to be sealed off and a permanent Garda presence put in place.

Large teams of public order gardai were also put on standby in case there was a serious disturbance in Dublin or Wicklow when the family visited Glendalough.

In the US, conservative newspapers like the Washington Times have criticised the cost of the trips for both President Obama and the rest of his family.

That newspaper hit out at the "$3,300-per night" suite at the Shelbourne, while Newsmax wrote that the two-day trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland would cost approximately €3.8m.

protect

The US secret service said it was not policy to disclose the costs for policing overseas visits, but they did what was thought necessary to protect the president.

Meanwhile, PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott has defended the £50m (€58m) cost incurred for policing the two-day G8 summit, saying it was both necessary and justified.

csheehy@herald.ie


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