No full-body scans for Irish airports despite terror threat
Published 04/01/2010 | 05:00
FULL body-scanners will not be introduced at Irish airports anytime soon despite the ongoing threat of terror attacks, officials said yesterday.
Britain has ordered the immediate introduction of the machines at Heathrow Airport at a cost of €100,000 each, after an attempted bomb attack in the US on Christmas Day.
But a spokesman for the Department of Transport yesterday confirmed the introduction of full-body scans "hasn't been mooted at the moment".
In the UK, the controversial technology is expected to be introduced at Heathrow and other hubs within weeks after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it was "essential" to tackle the new terrorist threat.
It is thought the scanners could detect the type of explosives smuggled on to a plane which left Amsterdam bound for the US.
The aviation security section at the Department of Transport receives advice on security matters from the gardai. "We feel the security is up to EU and international standards. Any new development would have to come from the gardai -- as far as I am aware that hasn't happened yet," the spokesman said.
Fine Gael transport spokesman Fergus O'Dowd said increased security at airports, including full-body scans, was essential. "What happened on Christmas Day is a lesson to everybody," he said.
Jimmy Deenihan, Fine Gael's defence spokesman, said security measures at Irish transport hubs must be reviewed.
"If there is a strict regime in England and not in Ireland that could leave us exposed. People could use Ireland as a backdoor to England. It is something we should consider seriously," Mr Deenihan said.