MILLIONS FACE AIRPORT DELAY
E-gate closures over summer hit passport checks
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.
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.
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. email@example.com