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Shannon Airport security criticised by former employee

Cllr Paul Keller’s claims include lack of security around the airport’s entrance

Shannon Airport: A spokesperson for the airport said it “does not comment on security matters”

Shannon Airport is a soft touch for terrorists, according to a Limerick councillor who used to work at the airport X-raying luggage.

Cllr Paul Keller’s concerns come less than two weeks after the head of the Clare Garda Division, Chief Supt John Kerin, admitted he did not have enough resources to fully protect the Co Clare airport.

Cllr Keller, who attended a meeting of the Limerick City and County Council’s joint policing committee on Friday – where gardaí briefed members about the local terror-threat level – claimed there was a complete lack of security along the main airport approach road, as well as around the airport’s entrance.

“I would be concerned of something happening at Shannon Airport,” he said.“There’s no obstruction and no security check on anybody walking in the door.”

He also said he feared the airport’s use by US troops as a stopover could potentially be used as an excuse by terrorists to unleash an attack.

The Solidarity councillor acknowledged, however, that security in other parts of the airport, including the luggage scanning system, was “of the best in Europe”.

He called for X-ray facilities to be used at the entrance of Shannon Airport, regardless of the inevitable delays for passengers.

Labour councillor Frankie Daly put forward a motion at the JPC meeting, asking Limerick Garda management if the city was safe from terror attacks.

Diverse population

Fianna Fáil TD and justice spokesman Niall Collins also attended the meeting and said the mid-west region has “a growing diverse population”.

He said that while he was “reassured” by gardaí that the local threat level was low, “to think that we are exempt from the likelihood of any terrorist attack or related incident, isn’t the case”.

A spokesperson for the airport said it “does not comment on security matters”.

Limerick Chief Supt David Sheahan, who briefed the JPC meeting, said he had “no intelligence whatsoever” of an imminent attack or an attack locally.

Retired detective Seán Lynch, who was elected mayor of the Metropolitan District of Limerick on Friday, called for a specific “homeland security” unit to be set up by the Government. “I know people will say [I’m exaggerating] but it’s true. This is the level we need.”