Defence Forces to be put on standby to provide support at Dublin Airport
It is said that the risk of a Covid surge among the airport's staff prompted the request.
The Government has supported a request for members of the Defence Forces to undergo training and be placed on standby to assist at Dublin Airport.
This comes days after Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said that the army could be called in to combat delays at the airport should measures already in place to deal with issues regarding queuing and overcrowding no longer prove adequate.
In a statement on Tuesday (28 June), Defence Minister Simon Coveney said that Ryan had submitted the request, which would see Defence Forces members prepare to assist the daa [Dublin Airport Authority] with the provision of aviation security duties.
"While I recognise that the role of the Defence Forces is not normally to assist in the provision of services for a commercial airport, I have agreed to this request on a clear assurance that this is a distinct piece of work, provided in extreme circumstances, as a short-term emergency related contingency action and is in direct response to a letter from daa management to the Minister for Transport," Coveney added.
"The request is clearly defined in terms of the role and timeline, lasting no more than six weeks, in non-public facing duties.
"Members of our Defence Forces will undergo an immediate period of training and stand ready to assist if the need arises.
"However, this support will be stood down in August when the busy holiday period has passed."
The Department of Transport has said that the risk of a Covid surge amongst daa staff has prompted it to ask the Government to put in place the contingency planning.
However, the department stressed that the deployment of the Defence Forces may not be necessary.
"The daa has advised that its current operational plan, in place since the beginning of June, is working effectively and people are making their way through the airport safely and making their flights," the Department of Transport said.
"However, given the heightened risk environment and the impact that a resurgence of Covid-19 could have on its staff and operations, daa proposed that it would be prudent at this juncture for initial, preparatory steps to be made to facilitate the potential deployment of the Defence Forces to the airport."
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