Government to miss target on agreement and legislation for full pre-clearance – BREEN

October 2nd, 2008 - Pat Breen

Deputy Pat Breen T.D. pictured with US Ambassador Thomas Foley when they met recently.

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. has voiced his disappointment that once again the Government is to miss their target on agreement and legislation to give effect to the provision of full pre clearance facilities at Shannon Airport. His comments follow the publication of the Governments Legislative programme for this Dail term with the Air Transport and Navigation Pre Clearance Bill listed in Section C among 48 other Bills for which Heads have yet to be approved and it is now not expected to be published until 2009.

“I am very disappointed that once again there appears to be no urgency in publishing this legislation. Prior to the summer break I met with the US Ambassador Thomas Foley in relation to this matter and my understanding was that both parties were close to agreement.”

“Following that meeting I contacted both the Taoiseach Brian Cowen and the Transport and Marine Minister Noel Dempsey urging them to fast track the legislation but it appears my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.”

“In May of this year the Transport Minister in response to a further parliamentary question from me on this matter said that he had targeted the end of this year for both the agreement and legislation to be in place. This is now not the case and we have no idea when it will be place.”

“The future of transatlantic services at Shannon Airport is very challenging with the future of the Aer Lingus operation at the Airport currently under review the provision of full pre clearance facilities is pivotal to the development of US services to and from Shannon and long-fingering this project is not helping the Airport’s efforts to sustain their market share of this business.”

 

See recent PQ and previous PQ in relation to this matter for your attention. Also photograph taken with US Ambassador Thomas Foley at my meeting earlier this year.
 

 

 

 

Dáil Question

No: 708

 

*To ask the Minister for Transport further to Parliamentary Question No. 104 of the 22 May 2008, if negotiations on the extension to the US Customs and Border Protection facility at Shannon Airport have been progressed; if legislation to give effect to this extension will be put before the Houses of the Oireachtas during this term; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Pat Breen.

 

* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 24th September, 2008.

 

 

Ref No: 30597/08

 

Answered by Minister for Transport

(Noel Dempsey T.D.)

 

REPLY

Significant progress continues to be made between Irish and U.S. officials towards the conclusion of an Inter-Governmental Agreement between our two countries on the introduction of pre-clearance facilities at Dublin and Shannon Airports.

I am hopeful that this agreement can be concluded in the near future. Work will then commence on drafting the necessary legislation, which will be introduced as soon as possible. As I have stated previously it is my hope that the timing of construction of the new CBP facility at Shannon can be aligned with the passage of the legislation to the extent that it is practical and feasible to do so.

Dáil Question

No: 727

 

Dáil Question

No: 237

 

*To ask the Minister for Transport if he will report on his recent visit to Washington; if he discussed the proposed extension to the US customs and border protection facility with his US counterparts; if progress has been made on finalising agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Pat Breen.

 

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 9th May, 2008.

 

 

Ref No: 17729/08

 

Reply

 

In the course of my recent visit to Washington I met Mr. Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security to discuss progress on the negotiation of US proposals for the provision of preclearance facilities at Dublin and Shannon Airports, submitted to my Department in late December 2007.

While the content of the discussions must remain confidential, I now look forward to making good progress with the US authorities. Pre clearance will require the conclusion of an Inter-Governmental Agreement with the US and new legislation. Given that the matter is under negotiation it is too early to say exactly when the Agreement will be finalized. However, subject to Government approval, I would currently target the end of year for the agreement and legislation to be in place.