Dublin Airport’s security procedures changed after whistleblower raised concerns

Dublin Airport’s security procedures were changed the day after an investigation began at the airport in response to a whistleblower raising concerns with the Department of Transport. 

The head of Irish aviation regulation later claimed to an Oireachtas committee that though an investigation had been carried out at the airport, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) had identified no security issues. 

After the whistleblower disputed this account – and with internal airport communication showing that new security checks were announced after the investigation began – the authority was asked to investigate itself. 

The authority identified no wrongdoing on its own part in this investigation. 

'Claimed to an Oireachtas committee no policy changes had been made as a result of the investigation'

Matthew Butterly, a former police training manager at Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), raised concerns about safety and security at Dublin Airport in June 2022.

He made a protected disclosure to the Department of Transport explaining these concerns.

This disclosure was then referred to the Irish Aviation Authority, which found enough evidence of wrongdoing to justify an investigation. This began in March 2023.

The day after this investigation began the DAA internally communicated that the Irish Aviation Authority had changed its risk assessment at the airport. 

As a result of this change the authority increased the number of recorded security patrols in certain areas of the airport. 

Whistleblower Butterly says these changes were related to the protected disclosure he made to the Department of Transport. 

The head of IAA however claimed to an Oireachtas committee no policy changes had been made as a result of the investigation. 

IAA CEO Declan Fitzpatrick made these claims in a letter to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport in Agust 2023. 

Butterly in October 2023 accused Fitzpatrick of misleading the Oireachtas in correspondence with the Office of the Protected Disclosures Commissioner. 

The office then tasked IAA with investigating itself for wrongdoing.

The IAA company secretary wrote to Butterly in March of this year, informing him that he had identified no wrongdoing.

“I have had the opportunity to consider and discuss the contents of your report with both the chief operations officer and the head of aviation security within IAA,” the email reads. 

“My assessment of your report is that there is no prima facie evidence of any wrongdoing.” 

A spokesperson from the Department of Transport told The Ditch that the company secretary is the person prescribed by law to investigate all matters relating to the management of Irish airspace. 

The Office of the Protected Disclosures Commissioner declined to comment. IAA did not respond to requests for comment. 

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors