A visit to Doonbeg by US president Donald Trump would present different security challenges to those raised by the visit of then president George W Bush to Dromoland Castle in 2004, according to the head of the Clare Garda Division.
Chief Superintendent John Kerin oversaw the security of Mr Bush’s visit and would again be in charge if Mr Trump’s trip includes Doonbeg Golf Club, one of the Trump golf resorts.
“It is a totally different geographical environment as the location is on the sea,” said Chief Supt Kerin.
In a way, a rural setting like Doonbeg presents less issues, but being by the sea means that we will be in contact with the army and the naval service.
“As with all visits like this, we will work very closely with the US security people and see what their requirements are.
“It is our country and is our duty to do the policing of it. We work well with US security personnel, and if there is a visit to Doonbeg, this would be a totally different security environment to Dromoland.”
The last time a US president visited the west coastline was 1995, when Bill Clinton played a round of golf on Ballybunion’s Old Course.
For that visit, the US Secret Service enlisted the assistance of the US Navy, which posted a frigate in the Shannon Estuary.
Chief Supt Kerin said they will set out security measures if and when a visit to Doonbeg is announced.
“We have a template and we can refer to this and see the scale of what was necessary in the past,” he said.
If the president does come to Doonbeg our work on the security plan will kick off straight away.
Chief Supt Kerin is in charge of ongoing 24/7 security for US military personnel transiting Shannon; mem-bers of the Defence Forces are deployed at locations along the airport perimeter.
Chief Supt Kerin said when the final details of Mr Trump’s visit are communicated to the Irish authorities, meetings will be held at Garda HQ with the US team in charge of the president’s security.
“We are well used to working with the US personnel, particularly in this division, given that US presidential flights, from time to time, stop off at Shannon to refuel,” he said.