Terrorist screening at Irish airports stepped up
SCREENING of passengers on US-bound flights from Irish airports has been stepped up as a result of a warning from American intelligence that Islamist terrorists are planning a fresh wave of bomb attacks on planes.
The move follows a review of security at the airports by aviation authorities but it is aimed at minimising the impact on passengers as they prepare to embark.
Armed police officers are again highly visible at airports in the UK and on the European mainland as governments respond to the US intelligence brief.
The response here will be more low key as the authorities believe that the level of aviation security checks in Irish airports is already up to US standards with state-of-the-art equipment being used to search passengers and their belongings.
But monitoring of passengers is being intensified and a discreet watch is being kept on those boarding flights to US destinations or flights involving American airlines.
The response will include covert as well as overt tactics but will not involve any additional garda presence or the deployment of military personnel.
But specialist units from the Garda and the Defence Forces regularly carry out training on how to cope with a terror-related emergency at air and sea ports and will be ready for call-out, if required.
The intelligence suggests that al-Qa'ida linked groups have been working on the development of a new explosive device that could be surgically implanted in a suicide bomber or concealed in electrical equipment and that can slip through current airport scanning devices.