Immigration unit to open at Knock

 

A full-time Garda Immigration Unit will open at Ireland West Airport Knock tomorrow.

The Co Mayo transport hub hopes the new facility will enhance safety and security for passengers and boost business growth.

The unit may attract more regional and international VIP guests travelling for business engagements or leisure breaks in the west.

One sergeant and seven gardaí will operate from a base in the main concourse at the Airport.

The previous part-time immigration unit was staffed by officers from Knock, Swinford, Charlestown and Ballyhaunis Garda Stations on a rota service.

The Airport said the facility was essential for the airport’s continued growth and expansion.

“The full-time immigration unit is essential for immigration duties and other policing functions,” a spokesperson said.

“It is hoped the increased security status may particularly attract more VIP business through the Airport.”

The permanent unit was announced in January following discussions with local political representatives and the Garda Commissioner.

It was originally due to open on March 31st, but was postponed by airport management.

A total of 567,000 passengers passed through the Airport in 2007 and it expects to increase this to 700,000 in 2008.

A proposed extension to the terminal building is aimed at doubling capacity in check-in areas and departures lounges.

Up to €20 million is expected to be spent on services and facilities in 2008 as part of an infrastructural programme.

PA