Gardaí say there are in discussions with French authorities about deploying members of the force to France to help Irish tourists travelling there this summer, but that the initiative is not yet confirmed and is subject to Government approval.

It follows reports that gardaí are to be sent to France to help French police on patrol in Disneyland Paris and during the Rugby World Cup.

Last July and August, a small number of gardaí were temporarily assigned to work with French police in assisting Irish nationals visiting certain tourist areas of France during the summer.

In a post on the Garda's twitter page on 13 July 2022, Gda Sinéad O'Hara was photographed on patrol her French Gendarmerie in Mont St Michel as part of a "temporary assignment of gardai to patrol in uniform to assist @Gendarmerie in engaging with Irish nationals over the summer".

An Garda Síochána said was similar to arrangements in other areas of France involving the temporary deployment of German, Spanish and Dutch police officers.

In a statement, the force said that a request has been made by France for the deployment of two garda members in July and a further deployment of two members in August.

However, it said the locations that gardaí would be deployed to has not yet been confirmed.

It said garda members would patrol in uniform with French police officers and assist in the investigation of complaints by, or offences involving, Irish nationals.

Earlier, Minister for Justice Simon Harris said he has not been briefed on plans to deploy gardaí to patrol Disneyland Paris this summer

Asked about a story in the Irish Daily Star that uniformed gardaí would be sent to the theme park, Mr Harris said "obviously the issue of where gardaí are located both nationally and internationally is a matter for the Garda Commissioner".

He said he trusted the Garda Commissioner in terms of his knowledge as to where best to deploy gardaí, but said he did not have any more information.

Speaking at the Public Accounts Committee, Secretary General of the Department of Justice Oonagh McPhillips said that in recent years "we found it useful to have a very small number of gardaí deployed to holiday areas in France to assist tourists".

"I think it has to be the subject of a Government decision", she noted, but added that pressures on resources is a matter for "the Commissioner's judgement as to whether this is of value".

It is a "bilateral arrangement", she told the committee.

"There is a reciprocal arrangement as well", with police from other jurisdictions being deployed here.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy asked if those being deployed here were "in uniform".

"Yes", Ms McPhilips replied, "In areas of high tourist activity. Obviously they work closely with the locals. It's mainly an issue of language."


Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore said that she was "really perplexed" when she learned of "gardai being sent to Dinesyland in France".

"It seems like a very, very strage decision", she told the Dáil, given the shortage of gardai on the streets.

"From time-to-time we do have very creative diplomacy", the Tánaiste Micheál Martin replied.

Mr Martin said that "the next thing could be a parliamentary trip to Disneyland. It could be cross-party", provoking laughter - including from Ms Whitmore - and cries of "Hear! Hear!" in the House.

"Opportunity beckons", he said, before adding "in a more serious vein" that more gardaí are being recruited.

Mr Martin said he would have to "understand the full policy wrap-around as to why they're in Disneyland" to make a more detailed comment.