Michelle Obama and daughters plan private visit to Dublin during G8 summit

 

US President Barack Obama's wife Michelle and their daughters will tour Dublin during the G8 summit.

Washington has released details of the First Lady's private trip to the Republic with daughters Malia and Sasha next Monday and Tuesday, including a visit to Trinity College and a special performance of Riverdance.

Mrs Obama will be shown archives in the Old Library of the university documenting her husband's Irish ancestry and also view the Book of Kells.

The couple visited the president's ancestral homeland in Co Offaly in May 2011.

Mrs Obama will stay in the Shelbourne Hotel next week.

The Riverdance troupe have agreed to put on a special show at a city theatre, which will also be attended by groups of local young people, President Michael D Higgins' wife Sabina and Taoiseach Enda Kenny's wife Fionnuala.

On Tuesday, Mrs Obama and her daughters plan to visit the Wicklow Mountains National Park, the White House said.

She will also take the opportunity to meet US embassy staff in Dublin during her short visit.

The Obamas will travel to Germany after the G8 summit in Northern Ireland ends.

Meanwhile, a security source has said there is no hard intelligence of any major public disorder planned in the Republic of Ireland during the G8.

A police operation involving 900 Garda officers kicked off yesterday, with road checks in force along the border counties in south Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan.

Senior officers said that, while there are no official events planned for the Republic, they remain conscious of the close proximity of the summit to the jurisdiction.

"We will be using all our intelligence to watch people of interest, criminals, subversives and any other people," a security source said.

"The threat is significantly high up there, as always.

"But there is no hard intelligence or notifications of anything going on or of large social protests," he added.

Garda chiefs are working side by side with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to address any policing or security issues that may arise before, during and after the summit.

Up to 4,500 PSNI officers will be on patrol during the gathering of the heads of the world's eight richest economies, including Mr Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Plans have also been drawn up for special courts and extra detention cells at locations in the Irish Republic, including Donegal and Monaghan, should disorder break out.

Gardai said that, as with any high-profile event attended by world leaders, there is a heightened threat and risk, but maintained that appropriate resources are in place to ensure the security and well-being of the delegates and the community of the north west of Ireland.

They plan to minimise any disruption to local communities and keep roads open, but have already started vehicle security checkpoints on roads leading to the Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh and where delegates are staying.

"In the event of any protest, our focus will be to facilitate peaceful protest and ensure the safety of all concerned," gardai said.

Gardai have warned of traffic disruptions across Dublin when the First Lady arrives.

A Garda spokesman said there will be a security operation and a traffic management plan in place in and around the Dublin 2 area on Monday and Tuesday, including rolling road closures.

Commuters and students are advised to give themselves extra time to travel around the city and use public transport where possible.

"Our aim is to ensure that any restrictions on traffic are kept to a minimum with the least amount of disruption possible," he added.

"We are particularly mindful of second and third level exams taking place in schools and colleges in Dublin city centre and we have liaised with local colleges and schools in the area."

Kildare Street will be closed to through traffic from tomorrow evening until Tuesday evening, but access to local premises - including the Dail - will be facilitated.

Parking restrictions will be in place around St Stephen's Green.

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