Tuesday 20 August 2019

West Clare in lockdown for 48 hours throughout Trump visit

Watching: Security is tight around Doonbeg
Watching: Security is tight around Doonbeg

Ralph Riegel and Pat Flynn

While US President Donald Trump will savour the plush presidential suite at his luxury Doonbeg Resort property tomorrow night, hundreds of gardaí on security duty around Clare will be accommodated in an assortment of guesthouses, B&Bs and even youth hostels.

Such is the scale of the €10m security operation in Shannon, Doonbeg and other parts of Co Clare for Mr Trump's visit, there isn't sufficient hotel and guesthouse accommodation for the hundreds of Defence Forces, gardaí, private security and even US military and Secret Service teams now deployed.

The security plan is so vast every Garda division in the south has been asked to supply a complete unit for the operation.

Gardaí have warned parts of west Clare will effectively be in security lockdown for 72 hours until Air Force One departs back to Washington.

For the past fortnight, no vehicle has been allowed entry to the 400-acre resort without a full security inspection.

A 'no fly' zone is now being operated around Doonbeg and special anti-drone teams have been deployed.

The naval service is even monitoring the sea approaches to Doonbeg.

Firms around Shannon have been instructed to have special lists of all employees scheduled to work throughout the days of President Trump's visit - and employees must carry valid work photo ID at all times around Shannon.

Warned

Workers have also been warned to allow extra time for journeys, given potential security checkpoints along all routes associated with the presidential trip.

In Doonbeg, traffic restrictions were imposed from 7pm yesterday.

Some will remain in place until Saturday morning.

Gardaí, on the advice of the US Secret Service, have imposed three security cordons around Doonbeg.

Anyone living within the outer cordon will need a special pass to access the area.

Access to the inner cordon is strictly controlled with Doonbeg Hotel, Doonbeg Golf Course and the nearby Doughmore Beach in full lockdown and off-limits to everyone except security personnel and those with the presidential party.

Closed

Locals have also been warned that some roads in the area will be closed throughout President Trump's visit.

A team of more than 400 White House and Secret Service personnel are escorting President Trump during his stay at Doonbeg tomorrow night before he flies to France for the D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations in Normandy on Thursday.

He will then fly back to the resort before returning to Washington from Shannon.

President Trump will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

The meeting is now expected to be staged at Shannon Airport.

While the American security teams will largely travel by road, President Trump will shuttle around Ireland by 'Marine One', the Sikorsky VH-60M Whitehawk operated by an elite Marine Corps flight team.

The helicopter was delivered to Shannon by heavylift US Air Force aircraft.

Doonbeg Community Development Association said the Trump involvement in the resort has been remarkable boost for the west Clare village.

Irish Independent

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