Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
539. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of occasions the National Civil Aviation Security Committee has met in the past five years to date; if it has identified new risks at airports in that time; the progress made to date in mitigating those risks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9273/19]
540. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the rule or directive under which airport security officers have the authority to stop and search Revenue Commissioners enforcement officers at Dublin Airport; the date on which this practice began; the body that has directed these measures be undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9274/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 539 and 540 together.
The National Civil Aviation Security Committee (NCASC) is comprised of key Government Departments, State Agencies (including the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, An Garda Síochána, the Irish Aviation Authority), and industry stakeholders (including airports and airlines). Its purpose is to advise and inform me as Minister on all matters of aviation security and to coordinate the implementation of the National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP), which is a work programme agreed on an annual basis with the objective of improving aviation security and ensuring international standards are met. The Committee meets on a six-monthly basis. It has met eleven times over the last five years. The Deputy will understand that due to the security sensitive nature of the deliberations of the NCASC, discussions and decisions are confidential.
Aviation security is a highly regulated area in accordance with international agreements. It is subject to requirements arising from Ireland's membership of the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and European Regulations. The State is committed to implementing best international practice.
European Regulations on aviation security are reflected in the NCASP, as required by Article 10 of EC Regulation 300/2008 and S.I. 226 of 2003, as amended. Of particular relevance, Article 1.3.2 of the Annex to EC Regulation 300/2008 states that "All persons other than passengers, together with items carried, shall be screened upon entering critical parts of security restricted areas in order to prevent prohibited articles from being introduced into these parts." While there is an option in this Regulation for objective reasons to exempt certain persons other than passengers, new, enhanced security arrangements were introduced at airports on 30 January 2019. This decision was based on a security risk assessment carried out by the IAA in accordance with the Security Programme (NCASP) and agreed by the Security Committee (NCASC).
As is standard procedure, the new security arrangements are subject to periodic review to ensure that they are being implemented as required and that they remain an effective component of the overall aviation security response by the State.