U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Government of Ireland signed an amended agreement allowing for pre-clearance expansion Shannon and Dublin airports.
The amended agreement allows for continued expansion of pre-clearance services in Dublin and Shannon, including extended service hours and increased staffing, cost recovery, and improved officer safety measures.
CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Todd Owen and Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States Daniel Mulhall signed the agreement at a ceremony in Washington D.C. attended by officials from both countries. “We see the agreement as an excellent vehicle to help our two countries meet the demands of increased travel across the Atlantic,” said Reece Smyth, Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Ireland.
Pre-inspection, a forerunner to pre-clearance, in Ireland commenced in 1986 and updated in 2008 to a Pre-clearance Agreement. In early 2017 negotiations to modify the 2008 agreement commenced and the signing of this amended agreement culminates two years of coordinated effort between the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. State Department, Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and other agencies.
Expansion of pre-clearance operations in Ireland directly enhances CBP’s strategic plan addressing continually evolving security threats by allowing CBP to work with foreign law enforcement and commercial carriers to prevent the boarding of potentially high-risk travellers while providing unique facilitation benefits.
Andrew Murphy, Managing Director, Shannon Airport said: “This is a welcome announcement as it will allow us to enhance our US Preclearance service at Shannon for our airline customers, in particular our business jet operators.
“It means we will be able to extend our US Pre-clearance service. Currently our US Pre-clearance operates from 09:00am to 17:00 daily, but with the new US agreement we will now be able to extend these hours and offer an out of hours service. This is something which our executive jet customers in particular have requested. They see the time saving benefits as it allows them to fly directly to their home airport from Shannon, rather having to go to a designated clearance airport in the US first before making the onward flight to their home airport.
Welcoming the next step in the process Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD said: “US Pre-clearance 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 pre-clearance, 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 Pre-clearance 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 Pre-clearance 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.”