In a hurry

A summer of passport queue chaos? Calls to address 'understaffing' at Dublin Airport

The issue cropped up in the Dáil recently, when a TD asked the government why people wait so long to get through.

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HAVE YOU FLOWN back to Dublin Airport recently?

A constituent of Dublin Central TD Maureen O’Sullivan did, and he had to wait almost an hour to get from his gate past immigration checks and into the baggage claim area.

His flight from Madrid arrived at approximately 7.15pm, but he didn’t make it through passport control until after 8.10pm.

O’Sullivan raised the issue of this experience in the Dáil last Wednesday, asking Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald if she was satisfied with waiting times at passport control at the airport, and if she had contacted relevant authorities about changes that could be made to avoid a repeat of such hour long waits.

The Irish Travel Agents’ Association agree that long waits through passport control is a matter of serious concern and says that the issue of understaffing at passport control is one that they’ve frequently tried to raise with the Department of Justice.

Its President Cormac Meehan told “The queues through Dublin Airport are a symptom of the airport’s organic growth… however, the issue of delays lies with the Department of Justice and Equality.

The ITAA has called for a meeting with Frances Fitzgerald to get the issue of understaffing at Dublin Airport and other regional and national airports on the national agenda, given the importance of the sector to the national economy.

Fitzgerald responded to O’Sullivan’s question by saying that 90% of travellers pass through these checks within a matter of minutes. However, she did acknowledge that delays do occur.

She said that, on the “rare occasions” that this happens, it can happen for a variety of reasons, including congestion at peak daily periods and current building works reducing the space available.

“The Irish immigration authorities have an excellent relationship with the DAA and work closely together to address queue management issues where they arise,” the Tánaiste added.

The constituent who contacted O’Sullivan had indicated that they were a regular flyer and that the queues at T1 of Dublin Airport are often considerably longer than that of T2, despite T2 carrying a high number of passengers on UK, EU and transatlantic routes.

Fitzgerald did point out in her response that the protection of our borders was a matter of the “utmost priority” and that checks made must be thorough and appropriate.

She also added that the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) will, this year, take on the front line checks in Terminal 2 at Dublin airport which will release further Gardaí for core policing duties. This is something that has already come into effect at T1.

Hour-long delays

Information released to RTÉ under the Freedom of Information Act two years ago showed that passengers were waiting up to an hour to get through.

It is clear however, that these delays still happen.

The change to immigration control came alongside changes to how people are able to pass through the airport.

Plans were recently unveiled for the roll-out of an additional 15 e-gates, which it was hoped would speed up the process. These are automatic terminals where people with an EU passport can have it scanned by a machine which then allows you to pass through.

Passengers are now also able to view the estimated time that it will take them to clear security, as they walk down the wide corridors from where they disembark at T1 to passport control.

So, has this issue affected you? Have you ever had to wait longer than 15-20 minutes to get through passport control at Dublin Airport in recent times?

Poll Results:

Yes (1994)
No (1224)
No interest/No opinion (103)

Read: Dublin Airport is getting four new multi-storey office buildings

Read: FactCheck: Are Michael O’Leary and Ryanair right about Dublin Airport charges increasing?

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