Gardaí to be sent to France to help security operations at Paris Olympics

Sarah Slater

Gardaí are to be sent to France to help security operations at both the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games which begin next month.

Following a request from the French authorities, An Garda Síochána has been approved to deploy Garda members to France for the duration of the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games during July, August and September.

The Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games will see supporters from across the world, including thousands of Irish supporters travelling to France.

Garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park confirmed the deployment on Monday.

In a statement, Garda management confirmed that “an internal competition has commenced” for the selection of members to travel “for this deployment and An Garda Síochána will announce further details when appropriate.”

All Garda members while in France will carry out patrols in uniform with French police officers and assist in the investigation of complaints by, or offences involving, Irish nationals such as in fan zones and other locations.

An Garda Síochána has previously deployed Garda members to similar large sporting occasions. A total of eight Garda members, two deployments of four, were deployed to France for the Rugby World Cup last year.

Around 35,000 police and gendarmes are expected to be mobilised each day during the games, with a peak of 45,000 expected for the opening ceremony on July 26th, according to the UK’s National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Heightened tensions in the Middle East will increase concern that the Games may be a target for terrorists and international intelligence agencies are liaising closely to prevent any such incidents.

Previously, Garda members were deployed in France during July and August 2023 and 2022 to assist French police in engaging with Irish nationals visiting the area.

These deployments are similar to arrangements in other areas of France involving the temporary deployment of police officers from various countries.

The garda statement said: “These international deployments demonstrate An Garda Síochána and Ireland's commitment to International Police cooperation as provided for by EU by the council decision, commonly referred to as PRUM.

“(They) are particularly pertinent during world events which attract a large number of citizens from one country into the other such as the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, and further demonstrates An Garda Síochána's commitment to keeping Irish citizens safe.”

Joint patrols have many advantages, not least the high-visibility support to their nationals visiting the event or site, gardaí pointed out.

Garda chiefs pointed out that such deployments can also be seen as “learning opportunities” for the members of both countries and can expand the knowledge and experience of both teams in issues such as “community engagement, cultural sensitivity and methodologies used."