The Women’s Mini Marathon have said a “head’s up would have been nice” after they received a surprise bill from An Garda Síochána.
The event began in 1983 and has always been policed free of charge - until last year.
“Last July, we got a bill from An Garda Síochána for their help with the Mini Marathon,” Gerard McGrath told The Hard Shoulder.
“It was the first time we’d got one, so it was a surprise.
“I was chatting to a friend of mine there at lunchtime and she said, ‘You mean you didn’t get a bill before?’
“Maybe we’ve been lucky but we haven’t.”
Mr McGrath said that perhaps the organisation “took them for granted” and was keen to stress that the event is only possible with Garda participation.
“They’ve been a tremendous support through the decades and everyone knows the event couldn’t take place without them,” he said.
“In fact, there was no explanation for the bill until earlier last month when we got an explanation pointing out how it was calculated.”
The issue is not one of swelling participation; once 45,000 took part in the event, now it is down to roughly 25,000.
“I think it was a change of policy at headquarters - that was the explanation I was given,” Mr McGrath said.
“So, we were lucky to have avoided scrutiny for many years and to have been able to take it for granted but it would have been helpful to have had a head’s up before the bill arrived on our desk.”
Officials have decided not to increase the €30 entrance fee and will instead absorb the extra cost themselves.
“€21,000 for 100 Gardaí, it’s not an extortionate rate or anything and it’s a small enough part of the overall budget,” he said.
“It cost nearly a million to put the event on - so the shortfall is actually met by the sponsors.”
The Women’s Mini Marathon will take place on 4th June this year in Dublin.
Main image: VHI Women's Mini Marathon. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie