PSNI to help Garda with royal visit
Published 24/03/2011 | 18:42
Police in Northern Ireland will work with colleagues in the Irish Republic to ensure the historic visit of Britain's Queen Elizabeth to Dublin passes without incident.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said he has already held discussions with PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott about security tactics for the expected three-day event in May.
Mr Callinan said planning for both Queen Elizabeth's trip, the first by a British monarch since the state was created, and a separate visit by US President Barack Obama in the same month is well under way.
With dissident republicans operating on both sides of the border, gardai will be liaising with the PSNI over potential threats. The security operation will be one of the largest in the history of the Republic.
After a meeting in Belfast with Mr Baggott and the justice ministers from Stormont and Dublin, David Ford and Alan Shatter, the commissioner said: "We are not without experience in the south of Ireland in dealing with and protecting VIPs and I've had some discussion on the margins with the chief constable in relation to this visit and we are certainly well under way in our planning for both visits."
Mr Shatter said co-operation would be key to dealing with any security issues.
"You can take it absolutely for granted that the security forces in the Republic of Ireland, the Garda and defence forces, in as far as they are involved, will be taking all necessary steps to ensure full security for what will be a very historic visit by Queen Elizabeth and also the visit of President Obama," he said.
"I think there are very, very many people across Ireland looking forward to this visit taking place - the Queen's visit - it will be a historic event and I think it's yet another sign of the extent to which there is genuine reconciliation across the island and I have absolutely no doubt there will be the fullest co-operation between the Garda Siochana and the PSNI in addressing any issues that need to be addressed."
The north-south security meeting at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, was the first since the commissioner's appointment and Mr Shatter took up the post of Justice Minister in the new Dublin administration.
It focused on a range of cross-border policing issues, including the ongoing threat from dissident republicans.