Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (455)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

455. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide clarification as to what exactly was involved in the US customs pre-clearance carried out at Dublin Airport before the departure of the ministerial air transport flight on 16 March 2008; if this procedure involved US custom officials boarding the Irish Government aircraft and asking the aircraft crew any questions or checking the list of passengers; if a similar US customs pre-clearance is still carried out at Dublin Airport prior to ministerial air transport flights to the USA; if so, the reason no similar procedure applied to US military aircraft transiting through or arriving at Irish airports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15342/14]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

As outlined in my answer to the Deputy's Parliamentary Question on 26 March 2014, the US Customs pre-clearance carried out at Dublin Airport before the departure of the Ministerial Air Transport Service (MATS) flight on 16 March 2008 took place at the request of the Air Corps. This was to avoid possible logistical difficulties that may have arisen at the airport of arrival in the US, which had some restrictions in terms of its customs facilities. A similar requirement has not arisen since then. I have been informed by the Air Corps that normal immigration and customs procedures were carried out in the terminal building and that the aircraft was not boarded. My Department has no role in relation to customs or pre-clearance procedures applying to aircraft transiting through or arriving at Irish airports.