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Clare’s biggest Garda operation in 15 years underway

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Clare’s biggest security operation in fifteen years is underway following Donald Trump’s arrival into Shannon Airport yesterday.

1,400 uniformed Gardaí are working in the county for the visit of the forty fifth President of the US, they are also being assisted by mounted, dog and air support units of the force for West Clare’s largest scale Garda operation. The county itself has not seen such a strong Garda presence since the 2004 visit of then US President George W. Bush to Dromoland Castle.

Locals estimate that 40 Gardaí are deployed between Creegh and Doonbeg at over a dozen checkpoints with others on patrol in the Long Village. Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland has been closed to the public since Tuesday, however guests that booked rooms prior to the confirmation that Donald and Melania Trump were coming to the resort are staying at the hotel.

Despite such a high amount of road closures in the proximity, Clare’s Chief Superintendent Michael Gubbins insisted, “People will be able to come and go through Doonbeg”. Regarding the village itself, the Limerick native stated, “It has been more or less in lockdown for the past few days”.

Gubbins confirmed that “normal policing will take place with Gardaí continuing to work from their stations”. He added, “I’ve every faith in my team here in Clare, a lot of work has gone in and people won’t probably see it or recognise it but it has taken a lot of effort to get the people on the ground into accommodation, to get them catered behind this to bring all the various units involved in the organisation and dealing with the County Council, the Civil Defence, the Ambulance Service and the Hospital in the area. We’ve put a lot of thought and planning into this, a condensed period of time and we’re all looking forward to Friday evening”.

Students sitting their State Examinations in Doonbeg and Shannon have been advised to leave plenty of travel time as delays are to be expected on roads throughout the county for the course of Trump’s visit. Gardaí have advised that rolling road closures may take place on Thursday and Friday.

Additional security checks and Garda presence will be constant within the environs of Shannon Airport with no on street parking allowed in proximity to the Airport except in designated areas.

Passengers travelling to the airport are advised to allow extra travel time for the duration of the President’s visit, as additional security measures will be in place on the approach road to the airport and car parks until Friday. All visitors to the airport during the period are advised to have photo identification and intending passengers should have photo ID and valid flight documentation to hand.

A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána told The Clare Echo they are “engaging with a number of protest groups who wish to attend over the duration of this visit.  Protests will be facilitated and every effort will be made to minimise disruption to the local community and patrons of Shannon Airport.  It is anticipated that some protest activity will take place at the entrance to the Shannon Airport and An Garda Síochána will advise members of the public and patrons of the airport further when information is available”.

No significant disruption is expected in Shannon Town with business operating as normal there. Restricted access for traffic continues along the N67, between Clonadrum Cross (north) and Doonbeg (south), southbound traffic is diverted along the R483 to Creagh and Cooraclare and into Kilrush. Northbound traffic from Kilrush is diverted on the R483 to Cooraclare, Creagh, Quilty and Miltown Malbay. Gardaí will be patrolling these diversion routes and a free flow of traffic will be maintained.

Access for local residents inside the N67 diversion route will continue, residents here have been issued with passes and are further advised to carry photo identifications and proof of address to assist with security checks where required.

Temporary rolling road closures are to be expected by the public to facilitate security and VIP escorts over the course of the visit on the M18, N18, N19, N85, N68, N67 also through Ennis and the environs of Limerick City.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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