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€1.2 million spent on gardaí protecting US military planes at Shannon

One TD described the spend as disgraceful as “many areas of the country are crying out for gardaí and for stations”.

Image: Cathal McNaughton/PA Archive/Press Association Images

OVER €1.2 MILLION was spent deploying gardaí at Shannon Airport last year, while a further €180,000 was spent on the Defence Forces.

The figures were revealed in the Dáil when ministers were asked for a breakdown of the cost of having gardaí and Defence Forces protecting civilian troop carriers and military planes of the US at the Clare airport.

Socialist Party TD Clare Daly told TheJournal.ie:

Many areas of the country are crying out for gardaí and for stations, so spending 1.2 million a year because the government has decided that an appropriate role for gardaí is to facilitate and protect US troops and weaponry on their way to and from war is beyond ludicrous – it’s disgraceful.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said the €1.2 million spent on gardaí went on salaries and other pay and non-pay related expenditure, adding that, “the deployment of gardaí at Shannon Airport is aimed primarily at protecting the safety of passengers and other people working at and using the airport”.

The breakdown of the expenditure for 2015 is set out in the following table:

garda - Shannon

Click here for a larger image of the above table.

US military have been using Shannon Airport on their way to and from Iraq and Afghanistan since 2012. In that time over 2.5 million US troops have gone through the facility with 63,549 troops passing through the airport last year alone.

The amount spent on gardaí and the Defence Forces was revealed in parliamentary questions asked by TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace. Daly added, “It’s obviously an appalling waste of garda resources, which is why we’ve highlighted the issue.”

TheJournal.ie contacted that Garda Press Office to question whether this was deemed an appropriate use of garda resources. It responded with the following statement:

Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategy, are continually monitored and reviewed and is determined by a number of factors including population, crime trends and as the policing needs of each individual division dictates.

“Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda resources, and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.”

Meanwhile, Simon Coveney confirmed that over €180,000 was spent on the Defence Forces to assist An Garda Síochána at Shannon Airport.

He added that the costs are made up of Security Duty Allowance, provision of rations, and fuel.

Here’s a breakdown of those costs over 2015:

army - Shannon

Click here for a larger image if the above table. 

Read: Most Irish people want to see the Constitution changed to keep us out of wars>

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