Full Time Garda and Immigration Unit Officially Opens at Ireland West Airport Knock
On Monday 14th April 2008, the full time Garda and immigration unit at Ireland West Airport Knock was officially opened. The announcement that the Gardaí would provide a full-time Garda presence and Immigration Unit at the Airport was made by the Assistant Garda Commissioner, Fachtna Murphy, last January. The Garda unit consists of one Sergeant and seven Gardaí who will now operate from a base in the main concourse at the Airport. This new development will not only mean a full-time Garda service but also a full-time Immigration Unit which is essential for the Airport’s future route expansions and enhancement of the Airport’s overall security. Ireland West Airport Knock passenger figures for 2008 are already projected at 700,000.
Acknowledging the efforts of all involved in delivering these services, Robert Grealis, Chief Executive, Ireland West Airport Knock said: “This is very positive and beneficial news for the Airport and our passengers. The establishment of these vital services would not have come to fruition had it not been for the efforts and support of the Swinford Garda Superintendent William Keaveney and his predecessors, and local Gardaí from the Swinford, Charlestown, Ballyhaunis and Knock barracks to establish this permanent unit. I must also thank the Office of the Garda Commissioner and our local political representatives who recognised the need for these services and lobbied for this Unit.”
Welcoming the news, Superintendent William Keaveney, Swinford District said: “The opening of this service at Ireland West Airport Knock today will be a huge assistance for passenger safety on all sides. I am delighted with this new development and it will impact very positively on policing in the East Mayo region. I know that Sergeant Tom McIntyre and the other Gardaí are looking forward to working alongside the Airport team in the everyday operations of the Airport”
Speaking at today’s official opening ceremony; Carmel Kilcoyne, Operations Manager, Ireland West Airport Knock, said: “The establishment of a full time Garda service and Immigration Unit at the Airport is a major enhancement of our passenger safety and security services – much needed in light of the Airport’s continued growth and expansion. The local Gardaí have always done a superb job at the Airport on a part-time basis when they were in attendance for all flights arriving and departing from the Airport. The full-time immigration unit will be very beneficial to the Airport’s operations, providing dedicated personnel which are needed for immigration duties and other policing functions. We are delighted with this announcement and together with our own Airport security staff; we look forward to working with this Sergeant Tom McIntyre and all the based Gardaí”
Present at today’s official opening were Chief Superintendent Tony McNamara, Castlebar District and Superintendent Willie Keaveney, Swinford District. They were also joined by Sergeant Tom McIntyre who will head up the new unit. Along with Sergeant McIntyre Garda Stephen Gaughan, Garda John Ruane, Garda Gerry O’Connor, Garda Pauline Murray, Garda Peter Devine, Garda Lawrence Luby and Garda Mark Massey will take up the new posts at Ireland West Airport Knock.