Security for Ireland's EU presidency to cost €10m
The Garda Síochána’s security operation for Ireland’s six-month presidency of the European Union is set to cost at least €10 million but may climb higher.
Informed sources say the Government has estimated the security cost at €10 million, adding the Garda force would not be expected to pay the costs from its own resources for 2013.
It is understood when the final costs of the operation become clear after the six-month term expires at the end of June, the Garda will be reimbursed most, if not all, of the money used to fund the operation.
While Garda personnel will carry out some of the security functions as part of their normal working rosters, a substantial amount of manpower will be funded through overtime.
The extent of security arrangements around key events to be held in Ireland during the EU presidency will be dictated by Garda threat assessments.
When heads of state are visiting Ireland, gardaí will provide escorts on arrival in Ireland and as they move around, mostly in Dublin.
Gardaí are also charged with guaranteeing the security of locations where meetings involving political leaders and other dignitaries are held.
“You have to make sure everything is okay, from securing a venue by controlling access points in and out” and having the underground tunnel network checked “in case any devices have been left there”, said one source.
Gardaí also mount surveillance operations on any groups who may be suspected of planning an attack, however minor, that might embarrass the State during the presidency term.
Another source said: “The range of things we have to think of goes from a possible terrorist attack right down to what you might call embarrassing custard pie-type incidents.”
The Garda must also have a rapid response capability at the ready that includes the deployment of the public order unit, or riot squad, and putting the Garda helicopter or emergency response unit into action.
Sources said while the force was always ready to react quickly, response times must be as fast as possible during an international event such as the EU presidency.