herald

Friday 20 October 2017

Airport staff levels lead to long delays

US visitors and others without EU passports are facing queues of over an hour wait at Dublin Airport, it has been revealed.

Insufficient staffing levels have caused a knock-on effect for tourists and travellers coming in to the city.

Documents released to RTE News under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that passengers arriving into Dublin Airport may have to wait for up to an hour or more, which a senior civil servant warned resulted in "a negative passenger experience".

However, around 80 civil servants are now being transferred to the airport to help deal with the queues for non-EU citizens at passport control.

Passport control is staffed by members of the Garda National Immigration Bureau as well as 24 civilians. But the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service will be taking over some of the functions of gardai.

Gardai will continue to be involved in investigations, arrests and detentions.

A Department of Justice spokeswoman said that sometimes the numbers of people queuing could spike, but such delays affected fewer than one in 10 such visitors.

Requests

Most Non-EU visitors are processed in ten minutes or less, she claimed.

The Department of Transport and Tourism had been requesting additional passport staff from late 2013 in communications with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Last September, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald (above) announced a programme to use civilian staff for immigration functions undertaken by gardai, with the addition of 80 staff.

The process will be completed by the end of this year.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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