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Tánaiste confirms diversion of existing budgets to pay for visit of British Queen

12 May, 2011 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Addressing the Tánaiste in the Dáil today Sinn Féin Party Whip Aengus Ó Snodaigh highlighted the serious inconvenience that is being imposed on the public and the pressure on the public purse to cater to the British Queen’s needs.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh has said he is aware of one person who reported being threatened with a knife only to be told by Gardaí that his case will have to wait till after the visit of the British Queen.

An Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore responded that he did not anticipate that supplementary budgets will be produced thereby confirming the diversion of funds within existing already overstretched budgets.

Speaking after Deputy Ó Snodaigh said “The British Queen’s visit is putting an unacceptable level of pressure on individuals. For example a directive was issued to patients in Cork’s Mercy Hospital that they have to travel to hospital on foot next week or have their appointments put off until June.

“I am aware of a person who reported being threatened with a knife to Gardaí and was told it would have to wait until after the visit.

“The British Queen’s visit is also imposing huge costs on the Gardaí, Local Authorities and OPW budgets. In addition it will directly cost workers and businesses that have been instructed to close for the day.

“There is the cost of An Garda Síochána's security operation surrounding the visit of the British Queen, which involves a huge level of overtime, the implementing of a curfew or the equivalent of house arrest and this is diverting resources from tackling serious crime.

“There are the costs incurred by local authorities relating to the visit, including loss of parking revenue and diverting thousands of road maintenance, drainage and parks workers from more pressing duties to beautify the city for the British Queen and her entourage.

“The OPW is covering the cost involved in rolling out, for instance, thousands of square meters of grass to beautify the memorial gardens and elsewhere along with thousands of work hours diverted from more pressing work.

“And while security can never be fully assured, so meticulous are they, that rats in Islandbridge have been sealed out of the sewers and have been invading a children’s playground.

“It's a disgrace that the Irish tax payer is being made to foot these bills.” ENDS

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