The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, today welcomed the signing of a revised agreement with the United States on Air Transport Preclearance. The agreement was signed on behalf of Ireland in Washington by the Irish Ambassador to the United States, Mr Dan Mulhall.
The agreement was approved by Government on 09 January 2019, and the signing represents the next step in assuring enhanced services at the US Preclearance facilities at Dublin and Shannon Airports. The new provisions reflect agreements reached between Irish and US officials following detailed negotiations. The Agreement will now be referred to the Dáil for final approval before entry into force.
US Preclearance facilitates passengers of US bound flights to fully clear all US controls before leaving Ireland. Dublin and Shannon are currently the only preclearance locations in Europe, where 1.9 million passengers availed of the service in 2018. Additional capacity and resources are now required to allow growth to continue.
Welcoming the next step in the process of ensuring this, Minister Ross said:
“US Preclearance is a valuable asset for Ireland and has been an enormous success. The ease of doing business, the scale of air connectivity and the on-going availability of preclearance, are significant trade, tourism and cultural facilitators between two countries which have a long and unique relationship.
My Department has been engaging with the US since 2015 on the need to enhance and expand services and introduce flexibilities to Preclearance in Ireland. The US has also been working for a number of years to expand the programme to other countries, where it is intended that a reimbursement framework for all services and facilities will be the norm as it has become in many US domestic airports.
The amendments allow reimbursement by the airport authorities of the costs of additional and enhanced Preclearance services in Irish airports with US authorities continuing to fund a baseline level of service, on a par with that which is offered at present. The additional costs will be borne by those benefitting from the enhanced services and will not be a charge on the Exchequer.”
The revised arrangements also reflect agreement reached on a number of other issues, including merchandise compliance agreements, the designation of preclearance areas and new signage to be placed in preclearance areas.