Massive security alert kicks off visit of Queen Elizabeth and Obama
Riot police and water cannon as hoax bombs and protests expected
Water cannon, riot police and more arrests of dissident Republicans and extreme Islamists are all expected as Ireland prepares for its biggest security headache ever in preparation for Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama's visits over the next ten days.
Starting today Irish police are launching a major security operations into action.
It has been announced that up to 10,000 police, along with Defense Forces, will be deployed in Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary and Cork during the State visits. The police have also announced that they are closely monitoring the activity of dissident republicans and supporter of groups such as al-Qaeda.
The Irish Times has reported that thousands of police with riot training and dressed in riot gear will be shadowing the Queen and Obama "in anticipation of violent protests during their visits".
According the Superintendent John Gilligan the Queen's visit, from Tuesday to Friday next week, will be one of the largest operations undertaken by the police force.
The main focus of the Irish police is preventing public disorder. Police in the south and the PSNI are both fearful that dissident republican will plant hoax explosive devices to cause disruption, especially during the Queen's visit.
The police have already borrowed a water-cannon to use on large crowds of rioters during the Queen's four-day visit. They have also hired coaches to transport thousands of police in riot gear from location to location during the visits.
The police believe the major locations of risk are the city centers of Dublin and Cork. These are the locations that have the potential to turn into riot situations.
On Tuesday the Queen will visit the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin and Croke Park on Wednesday. Both events will be very heavily policed due to the potential for hard-line protesters including militant republican groups. A republican group, Eirigi, are already advertising their protest at the Garden of Remembrance.
The streets surrounding the Garden and the Croke Park stadium will essentially be shut-down by the police. Riot squads will be ready at all times, out of sight just streets away.
The Queen will visit Phoenix Park to meet President Mary McAleese at her residence Aras an Uachtarain on Tuesday and will also visit Farmleigh , the official government home on Thursday. Similar security operations will be in effect in these areas.
On Wednesday Queen Elizabeth will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Irish War Memorial Garden, at Islandbridge, Dublin and then a State dinner in Dublin Castle. She will then visit the English Market in Cork city on Friday afternoon.
There will also be major traffic restrictions while the two heads of State are visiting. Pedestrians and vehicles will be searched at key locations around the country for security reasons.
Although Dublin will remain open for business traffic restrictions will be in place from Saturday onwards. The public are being urged to use public transport as the main routes around Dublin City Center will be affected. There will also be restrictions throughout Kildare, Tipperary and Cork during the week of the Queen's visit.
Security at Shannon Airport has also been stepped up. US military aircraft use this airport to refuel on the way to and from Afghanistan and Iraq. Police fear that anti-war groups might attack the aircrafts during Obama's visit.
Any public violence or threats would attract the media from around the globe and would be very embarrassing for the Government and police. It is estimated that their massive security crack-down will cost the state $43 million (€30 million).
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