To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the delay being experienced by persons entering Ireland through terminal one Dublin airport due to the long queues at passport control; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien
I refer the Deputy to reply to Dáil Question No. 108 of 30th May last which sets out the position on the matter. A copy is reproduced below for reference.
I am informed that the queues to which the Deputy refers do not arise as a result of the operation of immigration controls at Dublin Airport but are rather a consequence of other factors outside the control of the service. As regards throughput generally for incoming passengers to Dublin Airport, information supplied by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) in relation to queue times for arriving passengers at the Airport shows that over 90% of all travellers are processed through immigration control in a matter of minutes, with the percentage figure being even higher for passengers of EU nationalities. This is in the context of passenger numbers at Dublin Airport reaching record levels last year with almost 28 million passengers using the Airport.
However, there are specific pressure points outside of the control of the immigration authorities that can create some delay. Typically, this arises when a very high number of flights arrive within a specific time period (which happens at Terminal 1 in the late evening period) and the consequent increased passenger numbers within these peak times, can impact on queuing times over these periods. This situation is compounded when, in addition to scheduled arrivals, delayed flights also land during these peak periods.
Additional staff have been recruited for the Airport and the allocation of immigration personnel is designed to have the maximum number of staff on duty during these peak periods so that all available immigration booths are operational at these times. The number of available booths is a function of the physical infrastructure at the Terminal. Every effort is made by immigration officers to exercise their function as speedily as possible consistent with the requirement to protect our borders and facilitate legitimate travellers.
While the immigration authorities at Dublin Airport have no control over the number of flights or their arrival times, they have an excellent relationship with the Dublin Airport Authority and air carriers and work closely together across a number of fronts to address capacity and queue management issues where they arise, to alleviate congestion and maximise passenger throughput thus ensuring that waiting times are kept to a minimum.
I might add that a procurement exercise has been recently completed for the deployment of a permanent electronic-Gate facility at Dublin Airport. The new electronic Gates are expected to be available for use by passengers in the Autumn. However, while the introduction of the electronic gates should contribute overall to increased immigration processing capacity, the facility is primarily an immigration control facility rather than a queue management tool aimed at addressing spikes in passenger arrivals.