Dublin Airport to introduce Covid tests from €99 this week

Up to 15,000 tests a day will soon be possible, the airport says

Tester Samantha Jakstonyte pictured at a RocDoc drive-thru Covid-19 testing centre at Cork Airport. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Pól Ó Conghaile

Dublin Airport is to open two Covid-19 testing facilities this Thursday.

Operated by private healthcare companies RocDoc and Randox, they will give passengers and members of the public the option of drive-thru or walk-in tests.

Prices range from €99 for a walk-through PCR test with Randox with results in 24-48 hours, to €159 for RocDoc’s drive-thru LAMP "express" test, which makes results available within five hours.

RocDoc launched similar facilities in Cork and Shannon airports last week, and Dublin Airport says up to 12,000 tests can be carried out per day.

"This will shortly be expanded to 15,000,” it added.

It follows Ireland’s adoption of the EU ‘traffic light’ system, and a move towards travel testing that sees a growing number of countries allows travellers to avoid or shorten quarantine if they carry proof of a negative test result.

For now, of course, Ireland remains in Level 5 lockdown with residents advised to avoid all non-essential travel, but testing is seen as key to any meaningful resumption of travel in future.

Tester Samantha Jakstonyte with Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director, Cork Airport at its RocDoc drive-thru Covid-19 testing centre. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Similar to Shannon and Cork, customers at Dublin Airport will need to register and pre-book their tests with the healthcare companies in question online.

“We have been keen to provide testing at Dublin Airport for some time and the Government’s recent decision to grant planning exemption, which we strongly welcome, will enable two testing facilities to open this Thursday,” said the airport’s Managing Director, Vincent Harrison.

However, he added that ultimately “Ireland needs a rapid low-cost Covid-19 testing system for travel similar to those being trialed and used in other countries using Antigen testing”.

PCR and Antigen are both swab tests diagnosing active infections, but while Antigen tests are faster (with results in as little as 15-30 minutes) and usually highly accurate, there is an increased chance of false negative results. They are not as sensitive as molecular tests.

For now, Government has committed to PCR testing as the “gold standard”, but this is subject to review along with all of Ireland’s travel restrictions.

Randox’s walk-through facility will be located close to the Terminal 2 multi-storey car park and will have separate entry and exit points for customers.

RocDoc’s drive-through facility will be in the Express Green car park, which is accessed via the R132 (Old Airport Road).

Both facilities will be clearly signposted, the airport says.

NB: Travel restrictions can differ between countries and regions – travellers making essential trips can check requirements for individual states on reopen.europa.eu before testing.