Irish News

Friday 1 August 2014

I was strip-searched at UK airport, says journalist Mary Kenny

Clodagh Sheehy

Published 08/01/2014|02:30

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Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny

Journalist and Irish Independent columnist Mary Kenny has told how she was strip-searched at a UK airport after staff refused to believe she had hip replacements.

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The 69-year-old was about to board a flight from Luton to Kerry yesterday for a speaking engagement when security took her to an isolation room.

"I have two hip replacements and I normally just tell airport staff before I go through the security sensor," she told the Irish Independent.

The sensor was being operated by "a young woman. She said 'just stand still, darling'. I just don't like this thing of women being called 'darling' when all the men are being called 'sir'. I objected and I think she just took against me."

Ms Kenny said she was taken aside to a curtained area to "verify" that she had hip replacements.

The security officer was "joined by a very, very tall colleague. They were very austere with me indeed.

"They made me take off my dress, my tights and my knickers and show them the scars. They examined the scars."

Ms Kenny, who recently released her memoirs, 'Something of Myself and Others', says she should have asked to speak to a supervisor but it was 11.15am and her flight was leaving at 11.50am.

"I was concerned I would miss my flight otherwise I would probably have been a bit more resistant.

"I mean did they think a sixty something Irish lady was an agent of al-Q'aida? I have never had any trouble before."

TROUBLE

Ms Kenny explained that she had one hip replaced in the 1980s and the other in 2008.

"The first one was so long ago I thought maybe the scar had faded and I'd be in real trouble. The 2008 one was a nice big gash."

The journalist was travelling to the Gleneagles hotel in Killarney where she is due for a speaking engagement organised by the diocese of Kerry tonight.

"I usually go through Gatwick Airport and they're very good. In Dublin Airport there's no problem. I don't understand it."

Ms Kenny took to Twitter to complain about her experience saying: "At Luton Airport I was strip-searched by security officials who didn't believe my claim that I had hip replacements. Very unpleasant."

She returns to London tomorrow but is not expecting a similar experience at Kerry airport.

"I don't think they'll strip search me at Farranfore," she added cheerily.

Irish Independent

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