A MAN has by-passed security at Dublin Airport and gained access to a plane in a serious security breach.
The man was not carrying any weapons, and did not pose any terrorist threat, but the incident has shaken officials at the airport.
It happened on February 4 when an Asian national boarded a CityJet flight bound for Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.
The breach was detected by cabin crew after they conducted a head-count inside the plane and found there was one extra passenger on board.
A Dublin Airport Authority spokesperson told the Herald that they have launched an investigation into the incident.
"While we do not comment in detail on security issues, we are aware of the incident and it is under investigation," the spokesperson said.
"We are satisfied that there was no breach of the airport's security screening processes in relation to this incident."
A source said the man got past security screening at the airport and security staff are being investigated for a breach of protocol.
The passenger also managed to slip past security at his boarding gate where passengers are asked to show their boarding passes and passports.
"There was never any risk to other passengers, it wasn't any kind of terrorist plot. This guy just appeared as though he wanted to get home," the source told the Herald.
"It is a major breach and if this man was carrying a bomb he would have went undetected.
"This is a very embarrassing incident for all concerned."
Authorities are trying to investigate how the man was able to climb on board the plane with other legitimate passengers. The investigation will try to establish how the man accessed the departure zone of the airport without alerting airport security.
A spokesperson for CityJet said proper procedures were followed -- even though the man gained access to the plane without a boarding pass.
"CityJet can confirm that a passenger did attempt to board a CityJet flight without proper identification or a boarding card," she said.
"The passenger was denied boarding by CityJet Cabin Crew.
"Proper procedures were followed upon discovery of this individual, as security is of the highest priority for CityJet.
"We do not comment on security procedures as that is up to relevant national authorities."
The Department of Transport would not comment specifically on the breach but said that commercial airports in Ireland must comply with EU regulations on airport security.
"The Department of Transport does not comment on specific security measures," a spokesperson told the Herald.
"Aviation security practices and procedures implemented at Irish airports conform to European Union common rules and to the highest standards internationally.
"These practices and procedures are subject to monitoring by the department and are also the subject of periodic reviews by international organisations, such as the EU Commission and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
"All Irish airports with regular commercial flights are required to comply with the requirements of EU Regulations and the National Civil Aviation Security Programme."
A source told the Herald that the Asian man who tried to gain access to the flight was known to airport authorities. "This man had made a number of attempts to breach security at the airport," the source said.