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The Dublin Airport debacle urgently needs a remedy

Editorial


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Passengers queue in the walkway into departures at Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Photo: Frank McGrath

Passengers queue in the walkway into departures at Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Photo: Frank McGrath

Passengers queue in the walkway into departures at Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Photo: Frank McGrath

People who got out of bed before dawn to comply with airport demands to be in place hours ahead of their flight-time found they had to queue for more hours just to get to another snakingly slow security clearance queue. Very many of them missed their flights.

Welcome to Ireland’s oh-so-creaky and questionable-value tourism sector. We are an island nation – in which tourism is a central part of our existence – and yet we are failing to do the basics and help people catch flights on time.

People, both visitors and Irish holidaymakers, who for two decades have slogged through the deprivations of economic crash, the exigencies of Covid-19, and now the economic fallout from war in Europe, surely deserve better.

Those three crises cited above were foisted upon us and we had to respond to them. Efficiently getting people in and out of the island of Ireland is our own responsibility; we cannot blame blatant failings in this relatively simple administrative task upon external forces.

This weekend was the big test of the 2022 holiday season kick-off, with huge pent-up demand to get off, and/or on to, this island built up over two years.

It also followed big problems around queues for necessary security clearance which were evident since the final easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions in March. There were no surprises for anyone here – including the Dublin Airport managers and the travelling public.

In fact the DAA boasted to the Irish Independent as recently as Saturday that by June, security waiting times would be reduced to just 30 minutes. There followed two days of what can only be described as a debacle of distress, difficulty and delay for people trying to board flights at the nation’s premier airport.

We are all too aware that June begins on Wednesday, and we regret to have to say that things are going rapidly backwards.

We have heard abject apologies from DAA management which have a ring of honesty – but we don’t need “sorry”, we require remedies.

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This Dublin Airport botch is absolutely unacceptable in the age in which we are living. These problems require intervention at the highest level and rapid remedies lest the nation’s international reputation, already badly battered, is permanently reduced to shreds.

These administrative difficulties are compounded by a recent violent incident at Dublin Airport which also raises serious security concerns and generated negative commentary on social media.

It is self-evident that an airport hub is a nation’s shop window, it conditions visitors’ impressions of a country and its people.

The potential for negative reputational damage about national competence and seriousness about doing effective business is, without any exaggeration, limitless.

This issue needs to be addressed immediately because the potential damage over the coming days could endure for many years to come.


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