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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020
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Information blackout on Obama visit until 24 hours before

Information on restrictions in Dublin arising from the presidential visit won’t be released until very shortly before Obama and his wife Michelle arrive in the country, according to gardaí.

Image: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Updated at 14:00

GARDA INFORMATION regarding traffic restrictions in Dublin city over the course of US President Obama’s short visit to Ireland will not be released until later this weekend.

The garda press office told TheJournal.ie this morning that the details would not be released until 24 hours before the president arrives.

Obama and his wife Michelle are due to arrive in Ireland on Monday morning and will meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny before making a brief visit to Obama’s ancestral home of Moneygall in Co Offaly. The couple will leave Ireland the following day.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has not yet released the final schedule for the US president’s visit, however, Obama will address the public at a free non-ticketed event at College Green in Dublin city centre on Monday evening. How exactly this will affect traffic in and around the city has not been made clear.

Businesses in the area where Obama will make his public address on Monday appear unsure about how the visit will affect them. Some shops along College Green are expecting to open for a full day’s business on Monday, despite the nearby concert and speech, while the Bank of Ireland branch at College Green will be closed all day Monday.

The bank will reopen for business as usual on Tuesday morning.

Pat Martin of the Dame Street shop Pen Corner said that “business has been decimated” by security measures surrounding the royal visit – something he expects to continue through Obama’s visit. Martin said that the shop has not been asked to close on Monday, but he expects it will be asked to shut.

Dublin City Council said that the gardaí are handling all the security arrangements for Monday and it is they who will provide information on any restrictions arising from the visit.

Iarnród Éireann’s press officer Barry Kenny told TheJournal.ie that he expects gardaí to inform the company today of any security restrictions. However, Kenny said he expects a full service to operate on Monday and that if any disruptions are requested by gardaí, they are likely to be minor.

Trinity College says some restrictions will be in effect due to the College Green event, particularly campus buildings in Front Square. Off-campus buildings at Foster Place and 1-3-5 College Green will be closed from 9am Sunday until Tuesday morning.  Access through certain gates into the campus will be restricted from 6pm Sunday until midnight on Monday. Further details of access to Trinity campus and buildings are available on Trinity’s website.

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