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Why are taxpayers footing the bill for stars' garda escorts?

Rock stars are receiving garda escorts at the taxpayers' expense -- with no plan in place to recoup the full costs.

The issue of providing security was raised in the Dail, after the Herald broke the story of how Dublin group The Script were given an escort to a Miley Cyrus gig at the O2 last month.

The Minister for Justice was quizzed over the protocol for issuing of garda escorts to "celebrities" and if such escorts could be justified, by Fine Gael's Richard Bruton.

Minister Dermot Ahern told the Dail that there was "no protocol for the Garda Siochana offering an escort to celebrities travelling between events.

"The provision of a Garda escort is determined by the nature of the request including security considerations and public safety," the Minister said,

He added that cost recovery arrangements were only in place for "some escort duties performed" - but not all.

It is not clear what proportion of the escort cost is recovered. The provision of garda escorts to visiting celebrities, most commonly music groups, comes in addition to the individuals' own private security.

In the case of The Script, two garda outriders were sent to accompany the band as they made their way across Dublin city to get to the O2 on December 16 last.

Two members of the band, Danny O'Donoghue and Glen Power, were guests of honour earlier in the evening at the Fiat and Alfa Romeo showroom launch in Clonskeagh.

But the pair had to dash off shortly after 8pm, with their garda escort, as they made the trip over to the northside arena. Power's son was escorted with the two musicians that evening.

The rock stars reportedly arranged to provide the gardai with mince pies and soft drinks when they arrived at the venue, to thank them for their help.

An escort was also provided to U2 for one of their the gigs on 360 Tour, at Croke Park last July, it is understood.

clooney@herald.ie


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