Ministers to be given bodyguards and specialised cars

Increase in security follows Garda review of Cabinet members’ personal safety

Cabinet Ministers will be given greater security including bodyguards and specialised cars following a review of their personal safety carried out by An Garda Síochána.

The review followed a number of incidents which gave rise to increased concerns over the safety of Government politicians, including protests which have been held outside Ministers’ homes.

The murders in Britain of Tory MP David Amess this year and Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016 also raised concern about the personal safety of politicians.

At the moment only the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Ministers for Justice and Foreign Affairs have full protection including Garda drivers and State cars.

The use of Garda drivers and State cars for all Ministers was discontinued after the economic crash. In recent years, three further Ministers have been given additional security. They are the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath, and the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly.

The Irish Mail on Sunday suggested on Sunday that additional gardaí will be required.

Garda report

On Sunday, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee confirmed a report had been submitted to her department but had yet to be brought to Cabinet.

“What we have and what I have is a report from the gardaí. The report has not been brought to Cabinet yet and until it has been brought to Cabinet I am not going to comment on it any further,” she said.

The prospect of the return of State cars now looks more likely if the Cabinet approves the report.

Until the beginning of last decade all senior ministers, including retired taoisigh and ministers for justice, were allowed the use of State cars driven by specialist Garda drivers.

The system was discontinued as a cost-saving measure following the arrival of the troika to Ireland.

Since then, ministers, other than those senior ministers, have used their own cars and have employed civilian drivers.