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Dublin Airport and Aer Lingus are having a laugh!

Last Friday I flew to Germany with Aer Lingus. It was an early start with a departure time of 07:00, so most people are not too keen to go for a healthy walk or jog at around 06:00 when you are on your way to the boarding gate. But Aer Lingus is considering our health and must have assumed that I was indulging the night before, because they were determined to get me to walk the calories off.

You check in Terminal 2 and you already know that for a tiny island, the airport in Dublin forces you to walk mad distances, but when you find out that your plane is not at Terminal 2 at all, but instead is parked at the Terminal that Aer Lingus is allegedly NOT using anymore, i.e. Terminal 1, then you feel that someone is having a laugh.

So you check in at Terminal 2 and then walk alllllll the way to Terminal 1 to board your flight. :-O

If that is not odd then wait for the return flight story:

On Tuesday we flew back to Dublin and arrived around 22:00. Usually you can leave the plane through the front and back door, but we were told that we will only be able to leave through the front door and that a bus will bring us to the terminal. But when we got out, there was no bus. Instead we were directed to a (new) walk way that brought us to a building that I had never seen before. I thought this is an extension of Terminal 2, but not so fast! We entered the building through the door on the right and were told to queue at the door OUT of the building in the left. :-O What for? To wait for the bus!

So you walk from the plane to this isolated new building, enter the building just to queue again to get out. Then you take the bus and it brings you to Terminal 2 where you have another loooooong walk to passport control and exit.

Are Dublin Airport and Aer Lingus that incompetent? Have they ever seen any other airports where buses bring passengers to the terminals? The bus normally waits next to the plane and then brings you to the airport. Why do we have to walk to a terminal to enter a bus that will bring us to a terminal. The new isolated building is called “South Gates” as I found out later. It was opened in December 2017 after being built for EUR22 mio (!?) and is only used by Aer Lingus for flights to Britain and Europe. Connection to and from the terminal is only via bus.

Can anyone tell me why Terminal 2 was built? Are any flights departing from and arriving at Terminal 2? Or do we have a situation where Terminal 1 and (mostly empty) Terminal 2 are already not big enough anymore? If that is the case then the future is not looking good.

Dangerous Brazilian Au-Pair???

An unbelievable story emerged on Thursday about a 24 year old Brazilian ex-Au pair that wanted to visit her former host family and instead was put into prison.

Paloma Aparezida Silva-Carvalho from Sao Paulo was in Switzerland to visit her boy friend and then had planned to come to Ireland to visit her former host family in Galway. She had worked here before as an au pair for 18 months in 2015/2016 and now intended to come back to stay with the family for 2 months. Immigration officers at Dublin airport, however, were convinced that she wanted to enter the country to work illegally and therefore arrested her and out her in prison where she was strip searched and locked in a cell overnight. :-O

The host family was contacted and confirmed that she was expected to come for holidays, but the immigration officers still decided to send her to prison and told her that she would be sent back to Switzerland the next day.

Now the information in the newspapers doesn’t seem to be fully congruent and the Independent and the Irish Times have told the the story in slightly different ways and have changed the story during the day, but here are some details that were reported:
1) Brazilian citizens do not need a visa to visit Ireland as long as they will stay less than 90 days
2) Paloma had a booked return flight and had EUR 1000 cash with her, so there was plenty of money and clear intention to leave

The EUR 1000 was not mentioned anymore in a later version of the Irish Times story. Also in an earlier version the Irish Times reported that the former Au Pair had decided to leave Ireland immediately once she got released from prison with a permission to stay for just 10 days. But a later version explained that the family actually did collect her and the 10 days reference wasn’t there anymore.

Sooo, we don’t know all the details by the looks of it and even the newspapers don’t really seem to know, but what must have happened there?

A young woman arrives from a foreign country. She worked here before and now came without a work permit. But she planned to stay for a relatively long period of time (2 months) and school holidays are also that long, so there is a possibility that she will look after the kids of the host family during that time. And there is a possibility that the host family will give her some pocket money or even pay her some proper salary. Yes, all this is possible, but it is also possible that food and bed would have been the only pay OR that she was not expected to WORK.

Let’s assume for a moment that the arrangement was that the girl will look after the kids and will get a bit of money for it. Yes, strictly speaking this is work and she needs a work visa. But come-on, are we THAT petty about it now? That girl would not have damaged the Irish economy nor would she have taken another person’s job, not would she have to pay any taxes because over the year the bit of money would have been to low to get her in the claws of the revenue commissioner. So I really think the immigration officers totally overreacted because there is the definite possibility that no employment or formal work was planned.

Sure rules are rules and an immigration officer doesn’t have the power to interpret the rules, he/she just has to apply them. But let’s be honest, they INTERPRET rules every single day and in this case they interpreted the rules unnecessarily strict.

I hope Paloma Aparezida Silva-Carvalho will have a good time in Ireland and I hope she will get a nice bit of pocket money from the family when she leaves and if she looks after the kids. But I think we should apologise to her for a totally unreasonable treatment and the responsible immigration officer should be sent on a humanity training course!

P.S: And here is another story that was reported on the SAME day: A 24 year old guy met an 18 year old Spanish girl in town. They spent some time together, but later he allegedly held her against her will and repeatedly raped her on the former Irish Glass Bottle site near Irishtown over two days. The guy is already on bail for some serious public order crime awaiting a trial, but after he was interviewed by the police, they released him with no criminal charges brought against him, but inquiries will continue.

So a totally harmless and innocent Brazilian girl who wants to visit an upstanding family will be thrown into jail because she MIGHT work here, but a guy that might have raped a girl and who is awaiting trial for a serious public order offence is free to roam the streets. WTF!?!?!?!

 

Empty Terminal 2 – Where is everybody?

The economy has improved again in the last few years and there are jobs available in Ireland if you are in the right sector. And while we still hear about emigration and many of us know some people that have temporarily or permanently emigrated, the departure from Ireland seems to have slowed down.

But last Wednesday, I was wondering if everybody had left and I arrived to an empty Ireland. I flew from London Gatwick to Dublin with Aer Lingus and we arrived at Dublin airport just before 20:00. We landed at Terminal 1 and – nonsendically – had to treck the loooong walk across to Terminal 2 to get out of the airport. At the passport check there were no queues and only two immigration officers sat there. When we arrived in the baggage claim hall, the place was deserted. There was nobody else around than the people from our half-empty plane. No other planes arriving. Nobody at customs. And after leaving the baggage claims hall there were just about 5 people sitting on the benches where you wait for the arrival of your loved ones. But they were not waiting for anybody, they read books!

What a surreal experience to arrive in a seemingly abandoned airport! Where was everybody on Wednesday evening???

 
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