Dáil Éireann - Volume 511 - 30 November, 1999
Written Answers. - Airport Ground Handling Services.
Mr. J. Bruton Mr. J. Bruton
155. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if her attention has been drawn to the serious concerns of ground handlers regarding the failure of her Department to ensure that minimum standards are enforced by all suppliers of these services (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24876/99]
Mrs. O'Rourke Mrs. O'Rourke
Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): I am aware of concerns regarding the need to ensure minimum standards in respect of ground handling services at airports. I have received considerable correspondence on the subject, as have other Ministers and Deputies.
Regulations to implement the ground handling directive were signed by me on 16 December 1998. The directive does not set out any minimum standards with regard to ground handling services. When airlines use subcontractors to provide ground handling services, it is the airlines' responsibility, in the first instance, to satisfy themselves as to the adequacy of the standards, procedures, equipment and training of the service provider. In Ireland, the Irish Aviation Authority is the regulatory body responsible for the safety and technical aspects of civil aviation and it monitors the activities of airlines in this regard.
Companies providing ground handling services are subject to the health and safety legislation in the normal manner and to the by-laws in force at airports as regards safe working practices. Where  the provision of ground handling services does not impinge on aircraft safety, such as catering supplies or aircraft cabin cleaning services, it is the responsibility of the existing agencies such as the regional health board's environmental health service for food safety, the Health and Safety Authority for safe work practices and the Environmental Protection Agency, to enforce the legal standards in the same manner as for any other industrial activity or service in Ireland.
The general standards which airport authorities require ground handling companies to meet will be in addition to the regulatory requirements set out above.
Dáil Éireann 511 Written Answers. Airport Ground Handling Services.