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'He's not welcome here': Major security operation planned as protests to take place during Trump visit

Local protest groups will set up a camp close to Shannon Airport for the duration of the US President’s trip.
Jun 2nd 2019, 12:05 AM 61,599 130

THERE WILL BE tight security around Shannon Airport and the Doonbeg Golf resort in Co Clare as President Donald Trump arrives for a brief visit to Ireland this week.

The president will be greeted by protesters who will be encamped close to the airport – where he is expected to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar – from lunchtime on Wednesday.

He will spend two nights at his Doonbeg resort before returning to Washington on Friday. 

Over 1,000 gardaí were placed on standby for the massive security operation once the visit was confirmed and there will be a strong garda presence around the airport in particular. Personnel from all three arms of the Defence Forces are also likely to be deployed for the duration.

To coincide with the visit, protests by a number of local groups, including Shannonwatch, Extinction Rebellion Clare and Futureproof Clare, will be held at Shannon Airport. They will be supported by anti-war groups, with the main protest taking place at 6pm on Wednesday. 

A ‘peace camp’ will be set up near the airport for the duration of his visit. Organisers of the protests have emphasised that they will be “family friendly”. They said banners, art, music and any forms of peaceful expression are welcome at the peace camp and surrounding area.

John Lannon of Shannonwatch told TheJournal.ie that there are “lots of reasons for opposing President Trump’s visit”.

“We’ll be focusing on the environmental destruction and the increasing levels of militarisation and making the link between those too. Also the fact that Shannon Airport is used by the US military and what Trump is doing is a continuation of that policy in place since 2002 which we believe is a breach of Irish neutrality,” he said.

He has increased military spending to levels not seen since the height of the Iraq War. And he has dramatically reduced the number of refugees, particularly from Muslim countries, who can seek sanctuary in the US.

Lannon said people must also bear in mind Trump’s “failure to condemn white supremacists, his sexist rhetoric, and his failure to protect minorities”.

“Together these make it unacceptable to welcome him as a head of state.”

Security measures

Gardaí have already been deployed to a road security box at the entrance to Shannon Airport to monitor traffic entering the airport on at 24-basis.

The airport said it will be “business as usual” during the visit but advised passengers to allow an extra 15 minutes travel time as security measures on the approach road and car parks will cause delays. 

“All visitors to the airport during the period are advised to have photo ID, and intending passengers should have photo ID and valid flight documentation available.”

It’s expected that the presidential jet, Air Force One, and other accompanying aircraft, will arrive in Shannon on Wednesday. He will then head to France for World War II commemorative events the following day, before returning to Doonbeg for another overnight stay.

It’s not yet clear whether the president will be transported from Shannon Airport by helicopter or if he will travel by road.

Gardaí will also be posted along the entire route to the Trump property in Doonbeg including on every flyover and interchange along 22 kilometres of N19 dual-carriageway and M18 motorway.

Dublin protests

There are also plans for protests in Dublin, though the US President will not be visiting the capital on this trip.

The Peace and Neutrality Alliance and Venezuela Ireland Network will hold a vigil outside the US Embassy in Ballsbridge on Wednesday at 6pm.

The main ‘Stop Trump Ireland’ event, organised by a coalition of groups, will take place on Thursday evening outside the GPO. 

Organisers said his administration champions policies that are “destroying our planet, destabilising international order, and reaching new political depths by appealing to racism, misogyny, xenophobia and hatred”.

These policies do not reflect Irish people’s values – we need to show him and the world that this is not normal. Decency, integrity and fact-based politics still exist and are worth defending.

They have urged people to join the protest to “let the world hear that President Trump and his destructive politics of hate are not welcome here”.

- With reporting by Garreth MacNamee.

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