Fleadh will be ‘like four All Irelands' for local gardaí

Fleadh will be ‘like four All Irelands' for local gardaí

Next year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Mullingar will be like policing “four All Ireland finals one after the other,” according to Westmeath’s Chief Superintendent, Peter Duff.

The implications of the mammoth gathering for gardaí were mentioned during Monday’s meeting of the county’s Joint Policing Committee, held in Athlone.

Chief Supt Duff said the resources required in policing the fleadh would be “a major financial drain on our budget,” and as a result the gardaí in Westmeath are requesting supplementary funding to help cover costs incurred as a result of it.

“We are looking at 100,000 people coming to the Fleadh Ceoil every day, so I’d compare it to doing four All Ireland Finals, one after the other,” he remarked.

Multiple centres of activity

“Also, it’s not like you have one centre (of activity) as there are multiple locations where events will be taking place in the town.”

He said the gardaí here had already been in contact with the Dundalk Garda Division to discuss its preparations for the policing of the 2019 Fleadh in Drogheda this August.

Also at the meeting, the chief executive of Westmeath County Council, Pat Gallagher, thanked An Garda Síochána for supporting the bid to bring the fleadh to Mullingar.

He said the organising committee was now “getting down to serious work” in preparation for the event, and the council would be meeting with the committee shortly to discuss a number of issues, including event management.

“I know it will be a big task, but we have a very active fleadh committee and, working in conjunction with the local authority and gardaí, I’m confident that we will be able to stage a successful event,” said Mr Gallagher.

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