Huge security operation under way in Ireland for Donald Trump visit
A massive security operation is under way ahead of Donald Trump’s arrival in Ireland.
Thousands of gardai have descended on west Clare where the US president and First Lady Melania will stay following their three-day state visit to the UK.
Air Force One is expected to land at Shannon Airport on Wednesday afternoon, and Mr Trump and his wife will spend two nights at his Doonbeg hotel and golf resort in Co Clare.
During his visit, Mr Trump will hold a bilateral meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar at Shannon Airport.
It is understood the two leaders will discuss the EU and Brexit, as well as international issues.
Some of these include immigration, trade, US support for Northern Ireland and the EU-US relationship.
A huge ring of steel has been erected around the five-star resort where the Trump family will stay until Friday.
Around 3km of barriers and 3km of 6ft high fencing have been put in place for the visit.
Around 1,500 gardai have been drafted in throughout the area for three days.
Officers have been deployed from western, southern, south eastern and Dublin regions and are being supported by approximately 500 members attached to specialist units.
Members from the emergency response unit, armed support, public order, water unit – including sub aqua divers – air support, roads policing escort and the telecommunications unit are all in place for the presidential visit.
Some 16 dogs and 10 horses have also been deployed.
Approximately 8,500 meals have been prepared for each day of the visit for gardai, along with 40,000 bottles of water.
A temporary strategic control room has been installed at Shannon garda station with a back-up facility at Ennis station.
Paul Markham, who lives 10 miles from Doonbeg in Kilmurry McMahon, is a huge Trump supporter.
He enlisted the help of a few neighbours to make an American-inspired top hat which he hopes will catch the attention of Mr Trump.
Speaking in Doonbeg, he said: “I think it’s a great cead mile failte (Irish welcome) for him to Ireland and to this historic village.
“The atmosphere is building up and we are all here to welcome the Trump family, it’s a great occasion.
“He’s providing employment for west Clare and tourism.
“We are hoping Donald will come down from his hotel and into the village.
“People are waiting anxiously waiting to greet him. He’ll get a great welcome.”
He said the high security operation is “important and essential”.
Opponents of the president predict thousands of people will take part in protests across Ireland to coincide with his visit.
The Trump “baby blimp” is expected to fly over the skies of Dublin at the largest of the demonstrations.
A Shannonwatch peace camp will be erected at Shannon Airport for the duration of his stay.
Mr Trump had been due to visit Ireland last November, but the trip was postponed for operational reasons.