New figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) show that 2702.40kg of illegally imported meat was seized by officials at Irish airports last year.

According to DAFM the illegal meat imports were seized in Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports and in Revenue approved Temporary Storage Facilities.

EU rules restrict the import of certain goods from non EU countries including live animals and products of animal origin “to protect human health, animal health and the environment”.

DAFM operates a number of designated Border Control Posts (BCPs) at airports and ports.

Source: DAFM

According to DAFM the illegally imported meat was identified as a result of “official controls carried out on goods which form part of a passenger’s personal luggage”

The department said these controls include the use of scanning equipment and a specifically trained detector dog. 

DAFM also confirmed that in addition to the illegally imported meat seizures there was also 2239.93kg worth of other products and items seized by officials last year.

These were primarily milk or milk products.

Source: DAFM

Currently the BCP’s that check food products in Ireland include: Dublin Port, Dublin Airport, Rosslare Europort and Shannon Airport.

In a previous parliamentary question the Social Democrats TD, Catherine Murphy, had asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, what the “estimated full year current costs” would be if DAFM officials were present at Dublin Airport between the hours of 7.30 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

According to Minister McConalogue the DAFM BCP operates at Dublin Airport everyday between 7:30am and 9:00pm, Monday to Sunday. 

“The estimated costs of extending the hours of service from the current hours outlined to 7.30 to 11 pm, seven days a week, are approximately €670,000.

“This estimate is based on the additional administration staff requirement as well as an increase in the numbers of officers from the professional grades,” the minister added.

He also said that DAFM has not received any requests to extend the operational hours at Dublin Airport and he is satisfied that the current opening hours are “sufficient to meet the existing demand”.