Bombs and guns have been smuggled into Dublin Airport, a damning report by the European Aviation Safety Agency has found.
In total, seven prohibited items passed through security scanners at the airport - including guns and explosive devices.
Senator Tom Clonan, a security analyst and former member of the Defence Forces, said that the report would worry Ireland’s international partners:
“For so many devices - seven bombs or bomb making parts and guns - [to get through], that’s a very serious level of failure,” he told Newstalk.
“And it sends a worrying signal to the international aviation community but also the European Aviation Authority and their regulatory partners about Dublin Airport.
“It could be perceived as Europe’s weakest link in terms of security.”
Dublin Airport has repeatedly hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this year - with an unexpected surge in demand for travel causing huge queues for travellers.
In April Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary urged the airport to call in the army to help - a request that was rejected as impractical at the time.
“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,” a spokesman 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.”
There is now concern that sanctions or additional security measures could be imposed on the airport if it fails a follow up inspection - something that would likely increase yet again the amount of time travellers spend passing through security.
A spokesman for Dublin Airport Authority said:
"DAA never comments on matters of a security nature nor on testing for explosive and dangerous/suspicious packages nor on audits of our security operation for obvious reasons given that aviation security aims to prevent acts of unlawful interference, by keeping threatening items such as arms and explosives away from aircraft.
"We never comment on the frequency, nature or findings of any audits for similar reasons to avoid sharing intelligence on such matters in any medium with those who might seek to bring about such unlawful acts.
"Any sensational reporting of such audits shows a lack of national security awareness and only adds to the nation’s vulnerability to such threats."
Main image: Dublin Airport.