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Queen's visit set for May 17 as Garda holidays cancelled

All leave is cancelled between May 16 and 25 – as officers are told to expect the Queen’s visit between May 17 and 19.

Barack Obama is to visit Ireland in the days follow Queen Elizabeth's visit - before then going to visit the Queen herself in London.
Barack Obama is to visit Ireland in the days follow Queen Elizabeth's visit - before then going to visit the Queen herself in London.
Image: John Stillwell/AP

Updated, 16.37

ALL MEMBERS OF an Garda Síochána have been told that all annual leave booked between May 16 and 25 has been cancelled, ahead of the expected confirmation of the dates for the visits of Queen Elizabeth and US president Barack Obama.

Officers have been informed that the Queen’s visit is all but confirmed for Tuesday May 17 to Thursday May 19, with Obama’s trip to Ireland likely to come in the days that follow.

The Garda arrangements also indicate that Obama’s visit could see him stay in Ireland for four nights, with the visit of the US commander-in-chief beginning potentially as early as the evening of Friday May 20 – just a day after Queen Elizabeth returns to the UK.

The arrangements contradict reports from last week when it was suggested that Obama’s visit to Ireland could be as short as five hours – and suggest that the visit could also include a tour of the premises of major US firms with Irish bases, such as Dublin’s European headquarters of Facebook and Google, and the major Pfizer production plant at Grange Castle in Clondalkin.

Aside from the heralded visit to Moneygall in Co Offaly – home of Obama’s great-great-great-grandfather Fulmouth Kearney who left Ireland in 1850 – the tour is now also expected to include Kilkenny, where an even earlier ascendant of Obama, former Trinity College provost Bishop John Kearney is buried.

While the nine-day window for cancelled Garda leave ends includes the 25th, President Obama will already have left by the 24th given outstanding commitments elsewhere – including, coincidentally, a three-day visit to the UK including meetings with the Queen.

Obama will therafter travel to Paris for a G8 summit before returning to the United States.

The news also comes on foot of confirmation from Cork’s Lord Mayor last week that the Queen would be visiting Leeside, though the projected date offered by mayor Michael O’Connell of Friday May 20 may now require revision.

An official Garda spokesman said directives issued by the Garda Commissioner to all officers were confidential, though sources within the force confirmed that all leave requests had already been cancelled for the nine-day window.

It is also believed that the GAA has all but confirmed arrangements for Queen Elizabeth to visit Croke Park during her three-day tour of Ireland, with senior officials within the association and stadium examining the possibility of the Queen making a public address in the stadium.

Poll: Would you welcome the Queen’s visit to Croke Park? >

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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