WEST Clare will see the most extensive security operation in its history next week, when President Donald Trump arrives in Doonbeg.
An area close to Trump International will be completely closed off to the public, apart from people living in the area, who will have special passes. The restrictions will be in place from Monday until Trump leaves again, probably on Friday, but possibly as late as Saturday.
There will be a huge security operation at Shannon also, but it is expected that it will be largely business as usual at the airport, although people arriving there at certain times may have to take a short detour. Companies in the Shannon Free Zone are expected to stay open throughout.
Detective Garda Ollie Downes said there will be traffic restrictions on access to the entrances to Trump International and only those who have been granted passes (such as residents and care staff) will be granted access. Some distance further back there will be checkpoints at which people will be allowed to proceed provided they have identification and valid reasons for being in the area.
Well-attended meetings were held in Doonbeg and Cree on Sunday and Monday, at which locals were told of the plans for next week.
Shannon-based Garda Sergeant Seamus Mulligan said every effort will be made not to disrupt daily life. “We are talking to people, giving them information and our main objective is to keep things moving, so people can get to work on time. We’re very conscious that there are exams next week. The main thing we want is to keep people moving, keep the traffic going and let life go on as normal.”
He said an increased police and military presence will be more obvious in Shannon from the start of next week.
Shannon is set to see protests by environmental groups and Shannonwatch, which opposes the US military use of the airport, on June 5. Organisers say the protests will be peaceful and family-friendly.
Ed Horgan of Shannonwatch said, “Trump’s greatest danger to humanity arises from two closely-related areas. The first is climate change denial and wanton destruction of our living environment. The other is unjustified wars of aggression, motivated largely by the desire to steal other countries’ resources. Oil-rich Venezuela and Iran are the
most recent targets for Trump and the US.”
Clare IFA chairman and Doonbeg resident, Willie Hanrahan, meanwhile, said the Trump visit is a huge moment for the Long Village. “It’s a great honour for Doonbeg to have the President of the United States in our parish, it’s absolutely a great honour. It is something that will be talked about here for decades to come. Like when Obama came to Moneygall, it was a marvellous occasion and let’s hope we can do the same here.”
Local businesswoman Rita McInerney is based in the area where the traffic restrictions operate but she said the impact of Trump International helps her business every other week. “I have to bite the bullet and accept it for what it is. For the rest of the year I will benefit from visitors to the golf course and the hotel, so it’s a small price to pay.”
Owen Ryan and Gerry McInerney