Ireland can’t afford to see the international reputation of Dublin Airport security called into question “in any way, for whatever reason”.
Retired Air Corps Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Byrne is warning that any concerns raised about security at the airport must be taken very seriously.
It comes amid claims security screening at Dublin Airport is ‘not fit for purpose’, leaving the facility vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
A Dublin Airport whistle-blower made the claims in a protected disclosure handed to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan last year.
The Irish Independent reports that the Irish Aviation Authority is now investigating the claims.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Lt Col Byrne said the claims were unexpected.
“I am a bit surprised,” he said.
“The only good factor I’m taking out of it is the fact that it dates back to last June.
“That is a long time ago - nine months ago - and if all or any of the parties know what is going on, they will have taken steps to address the issues.”
He said no airport can lower its standards when it comes to security – even where there are serious staffing issues as seen last summer when passengers missed their flights due to long queues.
“There are certain minimum requirements and we have to be up there with the best in class in that regard,” he said.
“We can’t afford the reputation of Dublin Airport to be risked in any way for whatever reason.
“You can’t afford to have the reputation of Dublin called into question.”
It is understood the protected disclosure was handed to Eamon Ryan in the Dáil chamber last year.
It notes that security screen at the airport was in a “critical situation”, and suggested there were possible gaps for explosives to slip through and onboard flights.
It claims that the scramble to hire new staff to deal with post-pandemic demand has seen standards lowered, with remaining staff left under “immense pressure” as DAA struggled to recruit.
It also suggests that DAA was ignoring rules that state security recruits can only fail their exams twice – and was putting staff through the exams multiple times until they passed,
It specifically notes that there was the risk of a scenario similar to the Lockerbie Bombing, which saw a bomb detonated on a plane above Scotland, killing 243 people.
In a statement, DAA said it never comments on matters of a security nature “for obvious reasons”.
“We never comment on the frequency, nature or findings of any audits or investigations … to avoid sharing intelligence on such matters in any medium with those who might seek to bring about such unlawful acts,” it said.
“Due process must be followed here and we will cooperate fully with any investigation that may follow but any allegations under a protected disclosure should remain to be allegations only, until such claims are fully investigated and ultimately resolved.”
The whistle-blower behind the complaint is in dispute with DAA over a pay review and details of an investigation that was carried out over a complaint that waw made against them.