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Security review after intruder confronts Higgins inside Aras

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Minister Charlie Flanagan

Minister Charlie Flanagan

Minister Charlie Flanagan

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said reports of an intruder managing to gain access to Aras an Uachtarain and confront President Michael D Higgins "are a matter for concern".

Senior gardai are carrying out a review of security in the aftermath of the breach.

It emerged over the weekend that a woman drove through the front gates of the presidential residence in the Phoenix Park and walked through the front door.

Attack

She is then alleged to have confronted President Michael D Higgins, but did not assault or attack him during the incident last Friday week.

Gardai were quickly on the scene and escorted the woman, aged in her 50s, from the Aras.

No arrests have been made, but the matter is being investigated. Responding to reports of the security breach, Mr Flanagan said he expected a security review to be undertaken.

"It's not the practice to comment on long-standing security arrangements for senior office holders," he told RTE Radio One's This Week. "As I understand, no harm was done to the property and no harm was inflicted on any person.

"The reports are a matter for concern. I expect the review of security arrangements will be undertaken in normal course."

Gardai have confirmed that a chief superintendent will conduct a review of security arrangements for Mr Higgins, while another chief superintendent is investigating the incident itself.

Sources said the security breach had caused major embarrassment for gardai and might lead to internal disciplinary action.

Gardai said they "do not comment on the details of security arrangements for the President".

Uniformed gardai are stationed at the Aras on protection duty on a round-the-clock basis, while members of the Special Detective Unit provide armed protection.

The Defence Forces are also involved in security arrangements for the President, and carry out administrative duties which include organising drivers and the Aide de Camp.

The female intruder is believed to have found Mr Higgins in an office near the main lobby and confronted him about the housing crisis, according to reports.

It is understood the President engaged her in conversation before gardai arrived and removed her.

There were no arrests made as "the President did not want the matter to be taken further", according to reports.


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