Dublin Airport tells Minister it ‘cannot guarantee’ no repeat of chaotic scenes

On Sunday more than 1,000 passengers missed their flights after long queues formed for people to drop off bags and pass through security checks
Dublin Airport tells Minister it ‘cannot guarantee’ no repeat of chaotic scenes

By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan says the operators of Dublin Airport have told him they cannot guarantee that chaotic weekend scenes will not happen again.

On Sunday more than 1,000 passengers missed their flights after long queues formed for people to drop off bags and pass through security checks.

After a meeting with operator Daa, Mr Ryan said the scenes were not acceptable and could not be tolerated.

He said: “They said they cannot guarantee, but what we said is you have to do everything in your power, the Government will do everything to support, so we don’t see those scenes again.

“It can’t continue. You have to provide a proper service to the public, you can’t have someone having to queue for two or three hours and then not be able to get a flight.

“It is just not acceptable and it cannot be tolerated.

“The airport has to manage its operations so it doesn’t occur.”

Eamon Ryan
Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

At Leaders’ Questions on Tuesday, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said Daa had “grossly misjudged” the numbers of staff required to deal with tens of thousands of people travelling through the airport this summer.

“The Government’s failure to plan for the recovery of Ireland’s tourism sector has come home to roost in a very catastrophic fashion,” she added, raising issues with delays in passport applications, the high cost of hotel rooms, and long queues at Dublin Airport at the weekend.

People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett said that long queues at the airport were partly caused by “rubbishy flexible contracts” for Daa workers.

“They can’t even plan, they won’t even know what hours they will have or what income they will have a week later. Is it any wonder they have difficulty recruiting people?”

Bank holiday getaway
Queues form at Dublin Airport on Tuesday (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Boyd Barrett said earlier on Tuesday: “Even though the Daa are now re-recruiting people, they’re recruiting them on these 20 hours guaranteed and 20 hours flexi-contracts, which means that on a week-to-week basis workers don’t know will they be working a 12-hour shift or a four-hour shift.

“They’re trying to increase and reduce staff numbers and it leads, inevitably, to the sort of chaos we’re seeing where there’s chronic understaffing of the airport because the Daa do not want to treat their security and other workers with the respect they deserve to give them a proper contract, decent pay and decent conditions.”

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said it was important for Irish citizens, and Ireland’s reputation as an island nation, that airports are “well resourced”.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik raised concerns about work conditions, including low pay, for staff at Dublin Airport, which she said was a contributory factor behind long queues.

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