24 January 2017

Labour TD for Dublin West, Joan Burton, says a thorough review of security measures is needed at Dublin Airport following allegations of human trafficking into the State.

Three people, including two Aer Lingus employees, are due to appear in court again next week in connection with the investigation.

Deputy Burton said:

“These arrests pose the most serious questions about security at Dublin Airport, and the Taoiseach needs to order a high-level review into the current system, which appears to be very porous.

“We can’t underestimate just how many jobs depend on Dublin Airport, which is a key engine of the Irish economy, and to have any doubts cast on its security status is deeply worrying.

“While it is welcome that the Garda National Immigration Bureau has upped its surveillance in relation to people trafficking in the last year and a half, we need to look at the totality of airport security.

“We know that people smuggling is widespread throughout the world, and it is an evil and lucrative trade, often involving young women, who are forced into prostitution. We also have to be conscious of the fact that poor families run up enormous debts to people traffickers.

“As Minister for Social Protection, I introduced legislation to give enhanced powers to social welfare officers present at airport checks, to identify people coming in and out of Ireland in a bid to clamp down on so-called ‘benefit tourism’. This has resulted in many people coming before the courts and has shown that Ireland is not a soft-touch in this regard.

“With the clock ticking until the UK leaves the European Union, it is vital that our borders are secure, and any security issues at our airports are swiftly dealt with.”


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