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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
The Pope

Papal visit: State planning to spend almost €3 million on security staff and equipment

The Pope is to celebrate Mass at Dublin’s Phoenix Park on 26 August.

Pope Francis Wednesday Audience: May 2018 Giuseppe Ciccia via PA Images Giuseppe Ciccia via PA Images

THE GOVERNMENT IS to spend a further €1.8m on security personnel and equipment for Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland later this year, according to recently published tender documents.

It was previously revealed that an outlay of €1.2m was planned on CCTV and related communications equipment for the duration of the visit.

The pontiff is due to arrive in Dublin in August for a two-day visit as part of the Catholic Church’s World Meeting of Families event.

It’s already been confirmed that the Pope will visit homeless centre the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin during his visit, in addition to attending the World Meeting of Families at Croke Park and celebrating mass in the Phoenix Park.

Around one fifth of the population have indicated that they would attend the Mass on Sunday 26 August, and over 2,500 people have signed up to volunteer for the festival.

The State has recently issued two further tenders in relation to the Papal visit:

  • Request for Tender for the Provision of Security and Stewarding Services for Papal Visit to Ireland 2018
  • Security and Stewarding Services for Papal Visit within the Phoenix Park.

The tenders are worth €900,000 each, excluding VAT, official documents show.

In a list of requirements as part of the tender, a document asks the prospective company to outline how it would handle a hypothetical event attended by a group of VIPs including a figure of world renown visiting Dublin city centre.

A government spokesperson said that costs included in tenders are estimates at this point “and full and accurate costs will not be available until after the event”.

The spokesperson added, in a statement:

“While not a formal state visit the visit of Pope Francis will be a major event for Ireland, with a high degree of public participation and a high international profile. It will be treated as a state visit in terms of security, media requirements, protocol, a transport plan and crowd control.

“In particular, the State will support those events where the public will be in attendance in large number, taking on board all the health and safety requirements in addition to the security measures needed for an event of this scale.

The Government’s priority is ensuring public safety at the events, and also ensuring that any disruption to businesses and individuals due to the Visit is minimised as much as possible. All of this requires a great level of planning and coordination by the Government.

The spokesperson said the OPW had issued tenders for security and stewarding and for CCTV and related services for the duration of the visit.

The Irish Times reported back in April that the State was planning to spend around €1.2 million on temporary public address systems, CCTV and related services.

Garda cuts also revealed yesterday that specialist garda operations targeting gangs and violent criminals in some parts of Dublin have had overtime allocations stopped in a bid to save money for the papal visit.

Garda units based in west Dublin have been told that local crime operations cannot be done while on overtime. Gardaí must now carry out these activities as part of their normal tours of duty.

These activities include surveillance operations targeting criminals, as well as community outreach programmes designed to reduce anti-social behaviour in certain areas.

Many of these operations take place during overtime hours as it is often the case that gardaí do not have enough time to carry out all of their core duties, as well as other specialised tasks, in their normal working day.

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