The Garda has moved a mobile command and control centre into place outside the Russian embassy in south Dublin as part of efforts to increase security around the facility as the invasion of Ukraine continues.
Russian ambassador Yury Filatov has complained that gardaí were not doing enough to keep him and his staff safe. Some Garda sources estimated the cost of the operation at the embassy at just over €100,000 per month, which the Garda must absorb.
The embassy on Orwell Road in Rathgar has witnessed a number of anti-war protests.
A man who drove a van through the gates of the facility last week is currently before the courts.
A permanent vehicle barrier has been put in place across the entrance of the embassy with a new static post – involving a permanent Garda presence – also created at the entrance. That has involved a Garda car being parked outside with two gardaí in the vehicle.
Every time a member of embassy staff or visitor wants to exit or enter the embassy complex the Garda car must be moved and the gardaí inside must remove the barrier and then put it back in place.
The Irish Times witnessed gardaí performing that task earlier this week as Russian security personnel wearing balaclava-style hoods looked on from inside the complex.
Garda sources said maintaining a two-person static post would on average require between 10 and 12 gardaí being assigned to the task full-time. Several shifts of gardaí would be required in each 24-hour period, while resting time and annual leave must also be factored in.
The same sources said the cost of posting two Garda members outside the embassy would be about €12,000 per week or close to €55,000 per month. That would double with two more Garda members posted to the command and control vehicle.
That expenditure must be covered by the State rather than the Russian embassy. While that cost was approximate it would increase significantly if overtime rates of pay were used to fund the static post, the sources added.
The command and control vehicle now in place outside the embassy is situated on Thorncliffe Park, directly across the road from the embassy. Its security cameras have a view over the wall, down onto the street and into the embassy complex.
The Irish Times understands the control and command vehicle was put in place in a bid to address complaints from Mr Filatov.
Garda sources added the presence of the command and control centre would also reassure the local community in Rathgar. They added it underlined how the Garda was operating with an abundance of caution and is ready to deal with any public order event that might take place.
However, they said there was no specific intelligence suggesting an attack on the embassy or on Russian diplomatic staff was expected. Instead, the command and control centre had been moved into place as a precautionary measure.
Gardaí had already erected special public order barriers outside the embassy. The barriers are configured in a manner that gives Garda members a strategic advantage over crowds. The barriers tilt away from a crowd, making them harder to climb. They also feature small platforms on the other side which gardaí can stand on, giving them a significant height advantage over people they are facing.