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Question

824. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the number of Border management unit inspections and site visits to airports (details supplied) in 2018, 2019, 2020 and to date in 2021, in tabular form; if any breaches or concerns were flagged with airport operators; and if any sanctions ensued as a result. [17259/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Border Management Unit (BMU) of my Department is operationally responsible for immigration duties at Dublin Airport only. The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) is operationally responsible for immigration duties at all other ports and airports in the State. The BMU has no responsibility for inspections or site visits to any airports including those referred to by the Deputy.
Approved ports of entry to the State are set out in Regulations made under the Immigration Act 2004. In early 2020, the BMU contacted all “unapproved” ports and airports in the State to remind them of their obligations under Section 4(2) of the Immigration Act 2004, to give advance notice of all flights originating from outside the State that arrive at their airport/airfield to the local immigration officer based at regional Garda stations.
The vast majority of unapproved airports/airfield operators confirmed to BMU that they had never facilitated flights originating from outside the State and that they were aware of their obligations in this regard.
Additionally, the BMU liaises with Weston Airport in relation to incoming flights from outside the State. Weston Airport management provide all relevant information in advance of arriving flights from outside the State to BMU Immigration Officers. BMU Immigration Officers review the information and then grant or refuse leave to land in accordance with S. 6(1) of the Immigration Act, 2004.
Weston Airport management also provide negative PCR tests and Passenger Locator Form (PLF) details for all applicable passengers entering the State to the BMU. The BMU liaises with Weston and other stakeholders such as An Garda Síochána as appropriate on an ongoing basis.