US PRESIDENT Barack Obama’s security advisers were in Dublin yesterday putting the final touches on his one-day visit here.
Officials from the White House, the US embassy and State Department are carrying out a second advance visit to potential visit sites.
Dublin’s O’Connell Street is now the most likely venue for a massive public rally and showcase cultural event for Mr Obama on the Monday evening, it has been hinted.
A wish list of locations was discussed by the US advance team with Irish security officials yesterday.
It is also understood that Mr Obama is unlikely now to allow time for a potential business breakfast in Dublin city centre on the Tuesday morning, ahead of the beginning of his state visit to Britain that day.
Mr Obama’s team have also inquired about hosting the O’Connell Street public event close to the 12-foot bronze statue of Daniel O’Connell at the southern end of the street.
Gardaí are against this possibility though because of difficulties over crowd control and would prefer the stage for the event to be situated closer to the GPO.
Thousands of gardaí have been assigned for the two VIP visits over the next week, with last-minute security arrangements being put in place this weekend for the arrival of the British Queen next Tuesday.
It has also emerged that Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore raised the issue of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings with British foreign secretary William Hague during a visit to London earlier this week.
Mr Gilmore also discussed the campaign of the Justice for the Forgotten, the group representing families of the 34 victims of the atrocity who want files released by the British government.
The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the issue was raised with Mr Hague.
Justice for the Forgotten also met Mr Gilmore on Wednesday, where the Tánaiste was pressed to get the issue of the group’s campaign raised with British authorities.
Meanwhile, it is understood up to 1,200 journalists have applied for accreditation to cover the queen’s visit here including reporters with media groups from Japan, Australia, the US, Norway, the Basque country and Switzerland.
Picture: Dublin City Council workers remove rubbish bins from the streets of the capital ahead of the queen’s visit. Picture: PA
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