Fianna Fáil Senator Darragh O’Brien has said he is extremely disappointed by the decision to scrap Operation Free-Flow this year.

Senator O’Brien said: “I raised this issue last week as I became aware the traffic management plan normally in place over the Christmas period in Dublin might not be going ahead this year. The information available to me suggests it’s not going ahead because the Government did not give the Gardaí enough resources to deal with the State visits of President Obama and Queen Elizabeth and maintain all planned garda activity this year.

“Operation Free-Flow has been extremely important in keeping traffic moving through the capital over a very busy couple of weeks. It is also a very important time for businesses which are already going to suffer from a 2% VAT hike this week.

“Consumer confidence is extremely low and the Government seems determined to take action which will only hit confidence further. It is estimated €396 million euro is spent by Dublin households through the Christmas period keeping Dublin moving is vital.

“I note the comments today that Operation Artery will be running over the period however it is important to point out that Operation Artery was implemented by the Gardaí a number of years ago and there was still a need for Operation Free-Flow. The only logical conclusion to the decision to scrap free-flow this year is that the Government have failed to provide Gardaí with the additional resources they needed for the extra costs incurred as a result of the State visits earlier this year. This is not a failure on the part of the Gardaí to manage their budget but a clear failure on the part of the Government to support the work of the Gardaí.”