Union concern at rising airport arrests
by Fórsa communications staff

A reported rise in the number of people being arrested at airports for anti-social public order offences is a cause for deep concern about the safety of cabin crew and other aviation workers, according to Fórsa.

Figures recently released by Gardaí to a national newspaper show a rise in the number of arrests for drunken, threatening and abusive behaviour on aircraft landings in Ireland. Gardaí compiled the figures from Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Fórsa’s communications officer Niall Shanahan said it would be interesting to learn if the figures showed an increase in Garda enforcement or offences.

“If these arrest figures represent increased enforcement against offences on flights, then that’s great. If they represent increased incidents, then it’s a cause for deep concern. We would look to work closely with the airlines to ensure robust measures are in place to protect the safety of cabin crew,” he said.

Niall added that the primary role of cabin crew is passenger safety. “Cabin crew are highly trained in all aspects of flight and passenger safety. They need to be protected too.

“Any compromise to their personal safety, for example in the case of drunken or abusive behaviour by passengers, compromises everyone’s safety. Enforcement by airport authorities is crucial, and passengers also need to be aware of their responsibilities,” he said.

Gardaí said the arrests for public order offences in airports and on flights usually involved intoxicated, abusive individuals who threatened staff or other passengers.

The figures for last year show that all but three arrests for airport public order offences were in Dublin. Four arrests were made in Dublin each month for these offences, and drunkenness. Dublin Airport Authority said the figures showed the arrests represented a small proportion of the number of people using the airport.

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