The operator of Dublin Airport has said it will fully co-operate with any investigation that follows a whistleblower’s allegation of vulnerabilities within its security system.
A report on Monday, citing an airport employee’s protected disclosure, outlined alleged shortfalls that could allow explosives to be placed on aircraft. The disclosure was passed to Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan last June at a time when the airport was having difficulty sourcing appropriate levels of security staff.
According to the report in the Irish Independent, the employee claimed a lapse in staff training standards had resulted in “below par” security screening at the airport, where “vulnerabilities” could be “exploited”.
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), which was said to be investigating the claims, declined to comment. The IAA’s company secretary is the person prescribed in law to receive disclosures of relevant wrongdoings relating to the management of Irish-controlled airspace, safety regulation and oversight of civil aviation security.
Both the Department of Transport and the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), which runs the airport, said they were limited in their response on the basis they do not comment on matters of security.
A DAA spokesman said “due process must be followed, and we will co-operate fully with any investigation that may follow, but any allegations under a protected disclosure should remain to be allegations only until such claims are fully investigated and ultimately resolved”.
“Aviation is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world,” DAA’s spokesman said. “Dublin Airport is subject to regular independent, national and international oversight of our compliance with stringent security requirements.”
A spokesman for the department said aviation security was highly regulated at global, European and domestic level. “All regulated entities, including airport operators, are required to comply with rigorous standards and are subject to national and international oversight.”
He said inspections and testing of security controls were conducted at national level by the IAA in accordance with EU regulations, adding that all inspection results were evaluated. “The results of any such inspections are highly security-sensitive and are never disclosed externally.”
According to the media report, the person behind the claim is in dispute with the DAA over a pay review and a report arising from their accusations of bullying.
In early June, Dublin Airport set out plans to hire 235 additional security officers following significant delays for passengers, but estimated it would take until the end of the summer.
Then chief executive, Dalton Philips, said the company planned to boost frontline staff to 800 to cope with the post-Covid pandemic surge in passenger numbers. By last weekend’s St Patrick’s Day festivities the airport said it was well prepared to deal with high passenger volumes.