Civilian Immigration Officers An Option, Says Ahern

Passengers arriving at ports and airports in Ireland could soon be grilled by private contractors rather than immigration officials.

The Justice Dermot Ahern is said to be considering the privatisation of passport control to speed up delays of up to two hours at points of entry.

He told the Dáil yesterday that the civilianisation of the service was also among the options being considered.

He was being questioned about delays for passengers travelling through Dublin airport because of an industrial relations "issue" over the withdrawal from immigration officers of a meal allowance worth just under €30 daily.

He was responding to Fine Gael Justice Spokesman Charlie Flanagan, who said that "since before Christmas, a most serious situation has developed at Dublin airport that is damaging business and trade and commerce and tourism and the ordinary movement of people in this State".

He said that queues of an hour-and-a-half and two hours at the principal airport makes the situation "intolerable".

Mr Ahern said he told officials he was "open to looking at other ways of dealing with this issue out at Dublin airport and even looking at issues such as the privatisation of the control at Dublin airport".

Mr Flanagan said he did not think he would agree with privatisation, but suggested the Minister "would consider a certain civilianisation of the process", having an "immigration officer who needn't necessarily be a fully-fledged member of the Garda Síochána", but a garda aide or civilian immigration officer instead.

Mr Ahern responded: "Primarily there are gardaí out there at the moment and they are doing a good job and they have the resources and the Garda Commissioner has dedicated more resources."


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

19 April 2024
Executive Urged To Take Action For Victims And Survivors
Victims and survivors of the Troubles are at risk of being left behind without urgent action from the Executive Office. The Alliance Party has raised the issue following what it described as a "constructive meeting" with the Victims and Survivors Service.
21 March 2024
Call For Education On Violence Against Women And Girls
The Education Minister, Paul Givan, has been challenged by the SDLP on the proposed introduction of mandatory education around violence against women and girls in schools.
28 July 2011
'Hangover' Cannot Be Underestimated, Says Drinkaware
The effect of the 'Morning After' cannot be underestimated, says drinkaware.ie ahead of the August bank holiday weekend. The reality is that many people do not think about what they drank the night before when they get in the car the following morning. Fionnuala Sheehan, drinkaware.
11 December 2014
Funding Announced For Regional Airports
News that funding of more than €600,000 has been secured for Kerry Airport has been welcomed, with Fine Gael saying that it highlights "the importance of Kerry Regional Airport as a primary transport link." The news came as part of an announcement of €2 million funding for regional airports, made by Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe.
07 March 2014
DAA Seeks Injunction Against SIPTU
Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has been granted leave by the High Court to seek an injunction against the union, SIPTU, from taking industrial action at Dublin and Cork airports next Friday. In a statement, DAA said it had "no choice but to take this step".