Minister to meet with DAA over weekend chaos at Dublin Airport

Passengers suffer prolonged queues and issues around check-in and security screening

An urgent meeting between the Minister with responsibility for aviation and Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) will be held early Monday morning to discuss the excessively long queues at the airport over the weekend. The authority has already said it would provide a refund to passengers who missed their flights as a result of long delays, with many spending several hours queuing outside the terminal buildings.

Earlier on Sunday, in a tweet, the authority advised passengers they may need to contact their airlines to rebook flights due to prolonged queues and issues around check-in and security screening at its terminals.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the situation at the airport as “unsatisfactory”.

“The Dublin Airport Authority are charged with the proper smooth running of the airport. The Minister will be engaging with the Government and discussing this in terms of the huge number of delays,” he said during a trip to Lebanon.


Minister of State for Transport Hildegarde Naughton, who has responsibility for international transport, said she had brought forward her meeting with the DAA chief executive Dalton Phillips to early Monday morning. She said she will seek clarity as to the reasons behind events at the airport. Both Ms Naughton and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan expressed “deep unhappiness” with what they described as excessively long queues.

“The passenger experience at Dublin Airport is falling far short of the service that our citizens and visitors should expect at our largest State airport,” they said in a joint statement. Both said it was not satisfactory that some people, who were following DAA guidelines, had turned up to the airport for check-in on time, but had still missed their flights. “The situation is causing undue stress and potential cost to people, which is simply not good enough,” the statement said.

Ms Naughton said she will also seek assurances to intending passengers ahead of this coming June bank holiday weekend when a further increase in numbers is expected. She held daily meetings with the DAA chief executive at the height of the security delay issues when they emerged first in March, and has been holding twice-weekly meetings since then.

Graeme McQueen, media relations manager at DAA, acknowledged passengers were waiting “two to three hours” to access the terminal at some points on Sunday. “It comes in waves but at 11am this morning the queue for Terminal 1 was right to the bottom of the ramp.” Lengthy queues and wait times of several hours to clear security in the airport have been reported multiple times in the past three months.

“Since the scenes we had at the end of March we have been trying to get ahead of the numbers. Unfortunately today the numbers just caught up with us,” Mr McQueen said. The authority was “ramping up” staff numbers at the airport, he said, but many recent recruits were still going though vetting and training procedures.

“Originally we were taking on 300 staff; we have upped that now to 370 and we had 5,000 applications for the jobs so that is a really positive demand.”

Of the initial 300 new recruits, 200 had started or had been given starting dates, he said. “There is quite an onerous security clearance process that has to be gone through, but we should see the numbers ramping up very shortly.”

Last month, DAA said it would work to “refine and adapt” its operations after passengers were forced to queue outside the terminal building during the Easter holiday period.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Glen Murphy

Glen Murphy

Glen Murphy is an Irish Times journalist