Sinn Féin spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has called on the Minister for Transport Eamonn Ryan to give consideration to the deployment in the short term of members of the Defence Forces to assist with addressing the debacle at Dublin Airport. The current crisis at the airport is not only causing hardship and heartbreak for countless commuters but is also damaging the corporate brand of Ireland.
Teachta Brady said:
“I am calling on the Minister for Transport Eamonn Ryan to give consideration to the immediate deployment of members of the Defence Forces to Dublin Airport to assist with dealing with the debacle there.
It is totally unacceptable that passengers are faced with the delays that are being allowed to occur there. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue. Passengers are being asked to endure hours of delays and in many instances are being forced to miss their flights.
“I think it is appropriate that the CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has resigned. However, I think that the role of the Minister needs to come under further scrutiny here. This crisis has come about on his watch. There has been plenty of notice, but the Minister seems to be more focussed on picking fights with turf cutters than he is in the country’s infrastructure.
“The lack of decisiveness in addressing the crisis by the government is shocking. This cannot be allowed to continue. The Minister needs to act and to act now, and with decisiveness.
“The DAA are simply not up to the task to dealing with the crisis at this point in time. We are being offered the same excuses by the DAA, that they were offering in March and April, when the crisis in delays first surfaced.
“We now have families that have taken to sleeping in the airport the night before, for fear of missing flights. The whole situation is a shambles, which is reflecting on the reputation of our country.
“Dublin Airport is akin to the front door to Ireland. It is the point where many visitors first begin their experience of this country. And it is the point where they exit their stay on our Island. What they are witnessing and experiencing there, may well lead to long term consequences for Ireland as a holiday and business destination.
“The defence forces are the only organisation on the island with the capacity to step in at short notice and address the problem. This can only be a short-term solution, until staff are recruited into the necessary roles, with proper pay and conditions.
“When the idea of the Defence Forces stepping in was first mooted at the beginning of April, DAA said that this was not the solution as it would take five or six weeks to train up individuals to analyse the X-ray machines. We are now almost in June and the situation is worse if anything.
“Defence Force members already possess security clearance and would be able to be deployed to handle other security roles, and baggage handling duties. The Defence Forces made an extraordinary contribution during the Covid-19 crisis and have the capacity to deliver on the ground to alleviate the pressure on passengers at Dublin Airport.
“This is an emergency which calls for immediate measures to ensure that what happened yesterday at Dublin Airport is not witnessed again.”