Massive garda security operation in place ahead of Wednesday’s Europa League final

Gardaí have no specific intelligence about potential violence at the game and Bayer Leverkusen and Atalanta are not known for having violent fan bases

Gardaí are preparing a massive security operation around Wednesday’s Europa League final including the deployment of 3,000 officers and a water cannon.

The majority of the force’s public order unit will be on standby on Wednesday in the event of any disorder relating to the match between German club Bayer Leverkusen and Italian side Atalanta in the Aviva Stadium.

They will be armed with new equipment introduced in the aftermath of the Dublin riots last November, including smaller, more mobile riot shields and larger pepper spray canisters.

A water cannon has also been borrowed from the PSNI. This was first borrowed in the aftermath of the November riots before being returned. Garda management is currently in the process of purchasing water cannon permanently. Several gardaí have already been trained on the use of the water cannon.


Despite the extensive security preparations gardaí have no specific intelligence about potential violence at the game. The two teams are regarded as “the best case scenario” in terms of public order concerns, a Garda source said.

Bayer Leverkusen and Atalanta are not known for having violent fan bases. There were concerns that other potential finalists would present greater security concerns, particularly if the Italian team Roma qualified. Its fans – specifically the Fedayn ultras – have become involved in serious violence following the team around Europe.

There were also concerns that an all-British final between Liverpool and West Ham could lead to violence. However, all of these teams were knocked out.

In advance of the match gardaí have been liaising with their German and Italian counterparts on the possibility of violent fans travelling to Dublin.

The public order unit will remain on standby before and after the match. The air support unit, mounted unit and armed support unit will also be deployed.

Gardaí will put a traffic cordon in place from 3pm across parts of Dublin, while the Lansdowne Road Dart station will be closed from 4pm for the rest of the day.

“Heavy volumes of traffic can be expected in Dublin city centre and in the general Dublin 4 area throughout the day, culminating in a gradual build-up in the vicinity of the stadium in the lead up to kick-off, and an immediate build-up of traffic post-event”, the Garda said in a statement.

Parking will be prohibited in the vicinity of the stadium. Gardaí will escort a “fan march” involving supporters of each team from Shelbourne Park and RDS Simmonscourt to the stadium.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times