The Army cannot be brought into help with the chaos at Dublin Airport because working in security is too technical, a spokesperson has told The Anton Savage Show.
On Friday Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, told Newstalk that he wanted the Government to provide military assistance to help the airport deal with the huge queues caused by a lack of staff.
"We're proposing that we call in 200 members of the Army, who would be able to help do the patting down at the security screen,” Mr O’Leary said.
"That would free up the people who do the patting down to actually open up more security screens, because they can do the checking [of] the computers.
"And that will solve the short-term issue to allow, over the next six to eight weeks, the DAA to recruit the numbers of the additional security people they need".
However, Graeme McQueen, the airport’s Media Relations Manager, said working in airport security is a highly technical job and it takes a long time to train staff:
“Staff have got to be trained to do the job that we need them to do. The job we need them to do at the moment is security screeners. They’ve got to go through a pretty set of rigorous training,” Mr McQueen said.
“That takes five to six weeks - simply bringing in bodies to do a job isn’t enough.
“They need to be trained, they need to be able to do the job. It’s a very important job in the airport - this is where bags go through and get checked and make sure that there’s nothing untoward in there.
“So it’s got to be the right people doing the jobs.”
Mr McQueen said it was a “tough time” to be working at the airport and that the demand for travel had returned far quicker than the airport had anticipated:
“We’ve done some pretty robust assessments as to where we thought it was going to go and right now we’re about 15,000 passengers higher than where we thought we’d be,” he admitted.
“So we’re having to react to that. It’s taking longer to get through the airport than we’d like at peak time.
“So the message from Dublin Airport is that we’re asking passengers to work with us. We’d like passengers to be there a minimum of three and a half hours before their flight time and we’re seeing that making a difference over recent days.
“Queues are still quite long. It’s taking longer than we’d ideally like people to get through but it is making an impact. We’d encourage passengers to continue to work with us.”
Main image: A Ryanair jet is seen at Dublin Airport in September 2017. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images