MIL­LIONS FACE AIR­PORT DE­LAY

E-gate clo­sures over sum­mer hit pass­port checks

Irish Sunday Mirror - - NEWS - BY GER­ALD FLYNN

MIL­LIONS of pas­sen­gers will face pass­port con­trol de­lays at Dublin Air­port this sum­mer due to the sud­den clo­sure of e-gates.

The four Au­to­matic Bor­der Con­trol (ABC) gates at Ter­mi­nal 1 had al­lowed pas­sen­gers to skip queues and in­spec­tion booths.

They were in­tro­duced four years ago to speed up de­lays in the pass­port hall which cov­ers both EU and non-eu pass­port hold­ers.

But the Depart­ment of Jus­tice im­mi­gra­tion and nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion ser­vice con­firmed the scan­ning fa­cil­ity has been aban­doned and will not be re­placed un­til later this year.

MAIN­TE­NANCE

Civil­ian staff at the con­trol sta­tions said the e-gates have had to be re­moved in a row over main­te­nance.

Their in­tro­duc­tion was in tan­dem with a shift from us­ing gar­dai to civil­ian cler­i­cal staff to man the con­trol booths for the Ir­ish Nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vice.

A depart­ment spokesman con­firmed the ABC gates were in­stalled on a pi­lot ba­sis but de­clined to com­ment on any main­te­nance or con­tract prob­lems. He said: “Those gates have been re­moved from ser­vice with ef­fect from 30 April as a pro­cure­ment ex­er­cise has been re­cently com­pleted for the de­vel­op­ment and pur­chase of a per­ma­nent ABC Gate fa­cil­ity at Dublin Air­port ini­tially and pos­si­bly other air­ports in time.

“Con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions with the suc­cess­ful ten­derer are ex­pected to be con­cluded shortly and plan­ning works are un­der way.”

It is ex­pected the pi­lot gates will be phys­i­cally re­moved in the com­ing weeks with an in­crease in the num­ber of manual desks. The new ABC gates are ex­pected to be avail­able for use by pas­sen­gers in the au­tumn.

Adult pass­port hold­ers from Ire­land, the EU, the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area (EEU) and Switzer­land were able to have the pic­ture on their pass­port ver­i­fied elec­tron­i­cally, and did not have to present to an Im­mi­gra­tion Of­fi­cer.

TECH­NOL­OGY

In 2013, then Jus­tice Min­is­ter Alan Shat­ter an­nounced the tech­nol­ogy for this had been pro­vided by both SITA and Ac­cen­ture at no cost to the State. A spokes­woman for Dublin Air­port Author­ity said the e-gate shut­down was a mat­ter for the Depart­ment of Jus­tice. She added the air­port author­ity would mon­i­tor any de­lays and queues. The e-gate clo­sures will hit an es­ti­mated six mil­lion pas­sen­gers over the next five months as both air­port ter­mi­nals ex­pect to han­dle a record 28 mil­lion pas­sen­gers this year. news@irish­mir­ror.ie

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