Moneygall frustrated with lockdown

SECURITY plans for US President Barack Obama’s 24-hour visit next week will include up to 50 body scanners, which will be used to screen members of the public at a staged event on Dublin’s O’Connell Street.

As the build up to the president’s visit on Monday continues, residents of Moneygall, Co Offaly, have expressed frustration at moves to lock down his ancestral village.

Back in Dublin, it appears the lower end of O’Connell Street is the most likely venue for a massive public rally for Mr Obama on Monday evening.

Up to 50 airport-type scanners will be used by the thousands of gardaí and US secret service personnel who will monitor the expected 30,000 people at the event.

Some of the scanners will have already been tested and used for the British Queen’s visit, which begins today.

Despite a number of venues including Croke Park and Dame Street being proposed as options for an address by Mr Obama to the Irish people, his US advance team are pushing for the showcase event to be staged beside the statue of Daniel O’Connell.

The option is being viewed as a logistical nightmare by gardaí because of the large numbers of people who could crowd in and around the city’s centre’s quays.

A number of bands and artists have also been suggested for the event — including U2 and Bruce Springsteen — but nothing has been finalised.

Meanwhile, residents of Moneygall, the home of the president’s maternal ancestors, yesterday expressed frustration as a US advance team hinted at restrictions for his historic visit there.

As well as a limit on the number of people allowed into the village on Monday, some shops selling memorabilia and local premises have been told to remain shut, reports claim.

Locals are being told his visit will be a low-key event but Mr Obama’s distant relative Henry Healy said nothing had yet been agreed for the day.

President Mary McAleese will greet Mr Obama and his wife Michelle at Áras an Uachtaráin, before holding a private meeting.

Mr Obama will join a list of US presidents, including Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Bush jnr, who over the last half-century chose to visit Ireland during their first term in office.


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