The cost of extending the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) operations at Dublin Airport by 14 hours per week would be around €670,000.

That is according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue who was responding to a parliamentary question from Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy.

Deputy Murphy asked about the resources needed for department officials to be present at Dublin Airport between 7:30a.m and 11:00p.m, seven days a week.

Dublin Airport

In response, Minister McConalogue said that the DAFM border control post (BCP) at Dublin Airport currently operates from 7:30a.m and 9:00p.m every day.

“My staff provide a range of services including inspections on imports from non-EU countries and compliance checks on pets arriving in Ireland.

“Passengers coming from outside the EU with their pets are required to notify my officials in advance of their arrival.

“If they arrive outside of normal operating hours, an on-call service is available through a private operator who conducts compliance checks on behalf of the department,” he said.

The minister noted that a small number of passengers avail of the out-of-hours service annually.

Minister Charlie McConalogue
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue

McConalogue said that the estimated costs of extending the hours of service by two hours a day for the entire week are approximately €670,000 annually.

He said that this is based on the additional administration staff requirement as well as an increase in the numbers of officers from the professional grades.

“My department [has] assessed that two additional veterinary inspectors, two additional assistant agricultural inspectors, one additional executive officer portal inspector and four additional clerical officer portal inspectors, at an estimated combined annual additional cost of €570,622.40, would be required.

“Furthermore, there would also be a requirement to extend the hours of operation of the current facilities management contract with a projected increased cost of approximately €100,000 per annum.

“To date, my department has not received any requests to extend the operational hours at Dublin Airport and I am satisfied that the current opening hours are sufficient to meet the existing demand,” Minister McConalogue said.