Belfast Telegraph

Plans to expand airport gate scheme

Dublin Airport is in talks with justice chiefs over plans to expand automatic e-gate passport and border controls.

Some 125 gardai have been moved from the immigration booths at the airport and on to frontline duties as uniformed civilians take on their duties.

Since May 2013 four e-gates have been in place in Terminal 1 on a pilot basis.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald revealed officials in the Department of Justice have been in talks with airport bosses over plans to expand the use of these automated entry points.

"While we must remain vigilant in preventing individuals entering our country who have no right to be here, we must also make every effort to the make the entry experience as smooth as possible for genuine travellers who constitute the vast majority of people travelling through our air and sea ports," the minister said.

"Border technology is one of the key ways to achieve that objective."

Officials are also looking at expanding advance passenger information systems at Dublin Airport while maintaining the integrity of the State's main entry point.

As part of the nationwide civilianisation of immigration and border control the 24/7 civilian operation in Terminal 1 is expected to be completed next summer with Terminal 2 completed by December 2015.

Next year will also focus on the deployment of civilian officers to other major ports.

Ms Fitzgerald said having a permanent frontline uniformed civilian border control unit is a step-change in managing Ireland's borders.

"As part of my focus on reforming policing in Ireland, I am committed to examining and pursuing all opportunities to civilianise non-frontline Garda tasks, to get gardai out from behind desks and provide a visible policing service on the ground," she said.

"This initiative makes sense both from an efficiency and economic perspective."

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (Inis) are preparing a comprehensive business case for the expansion of the e-Gates initiative at Dublin Airport.

The minister added: "Extending the use of modern technology in all areas of policing and security must be seen as another critical element of Garda reform and is one which I will champion as minister."

Civilians operating passport control at booths in airports and ports will be officers of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service in the Department of Justice.

Duties will include passport inspection and permitting people to enter Ireland while gardai will be authority in the immigration area for traditional policing functions such as investigations, arrest and detention.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph