Thursday 21 September 2017

Kenny warns of US fears on human trafficking

Mr Kenny noted that immigration officers at Dublin Airport processed approximately 15 million passengers annually.
Mr Kenny noted that immigration officers at Dublin Airport processed approximately 15 million passengers annually.
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Ensuring Dublin Airport has robust security in place will be a concern for US authorities in the wake of two men being charged with human trafficking, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told the Dáil.

The Taoiseach said the courts would deal with the cases of the Aer Lingus employees arrested on Sunday, but in a wider context, it was "very important for Ireland to be absolutely clear, accurate, competent, vigilant and professional in how it goes about its business here".

"I remind the House that we have pre-clearance in Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport for the United States. It is clear that these issues are rightly of concern to every country, but particularly so for the US and its Department of Homeland Security," Mr Kenny said.

He noted that immigration officers at Dublin Airport processed approximately 15 million passengers annually.

Of those, 3,500 passengers were refused permission to access the country.

Read more: Analysis - How passengers could end up paying the price after high-profile 'smuggling' arrests

"Constant vigilance is required," the Taoiseach said, adding: "This is something that interests the entire country."

Fianna Fáil's justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan said it would be a "particularly serious matter" if our borders had been undermined to the point where either individuals or goods were brought in illegally.

"Every country must be able to defend and protect its own borders, and it's imperative that this country is seen to be able to do that," he said.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin questioned whether an "overarching security authority" needed to be appointed to ensure there was "a rigidity about the constant checking" of people at the airport.

"I understand from what the Taoiseach has said that Dublin Airport Authority currently has this responsibility," he said, adding that he hoped the issue would form part of any review into security.

Irish Independent

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