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Dublin: 3 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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Gardaí will no longer check passports at Dublin Airport

Instead, the responsibility will fall to civilians in the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service as part of reforms launched today.

Immigration booths at Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport
Immigration booths at Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

CIVILIANS WILL TAKE over responsibility from gardaí for manning immigration booths at Dublin Airport as part of plans launched by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald today.

Fitzgerald has launched a major programme to civilianise immigration functions that are currently undertaken by gardaí at Dublin Airport.

The changes will mean that civilian immigration officers from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) and not gardaí will check the passports of passengers arriving at the country’s largest airport.

The initiative will see the deployment of an additional 80 civilian staff at the airport at border control booths on a round-the-clock basis, releasing around 125 gardaí for other policing duties.

However, An Garda Síochána will retain a number of key immigration functions including investigations, arrest and detention.

“This initiative makes sense both from an efficiency and economic perspective,” Fitzgerald explained in a statement.

“The programme, starting with Dublin Airport, will free up Garda members for other core policing duties while also allowing the immigration service of my Department to both reduce costs and continue to discharge the effective management of our border and immigration system.”

Fitzgerald said that the changes are part of overarching plans to reform policing in Ireland and “to get gardaí out from behind desks and provide a visible policing service on the ground”. 

Already 16 INIS staff are deployed on passport booth duties in Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport between 9am and 5pm.

Terminal 1′s immigration booths are expected to be fully staffed by civilians by next summer with Terminal 2 completed by December 2015.

Fitzgerald also outlined plans today to make greater use of e-gates facilities at the airport where travellers have their passport scanned instead of having to show it to an immigration officer.

She said that border technology is one of the key ways of ensuring the entry experience is “as smooth as possible for genuine travellers who constitute the vast majority of people travelling through our air and sea ports”.

Read: ‘Self service’ border control gates on trial at Dublin Airport

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Hugh O'Connell

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