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Automatic border control gates, which allow people entering the country to use electronic passport machines, are set to be installed in Dublin Airport by the end of the year.
Some 20 new e-gates will be installed at Dublin Airport’s Terminal One and Terminal Two in the coming months following a pilot programme and open tender competition.
The new automatic gates will use facial recognition technology and passport readers to carry out security checks on passengers.
It is hoped the 20 new gates will allow immigration officials to carry out passport checks in a speedier fashion, with only one immigration officer needed to monitor several gates.
Irish and other EU travellers over 18 with e-passports and Irish passport cards will be able to use the gates. The Department of Justice has said it will also consider extending the use of the gates to non-EU passport holders using registered traveller programmes “to allow for easier entry for regular visitors such as business travellers”.
Four automated border control gates were installed in Terminal One on a pilot basis in 2013. However, they were removed from service in April.
The pilot machines only operated from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and could not be directly accessed without passing through the main passport arrival area. The project was intended to test their capability to improve the border crossing processes in aspects such as speed, security, automation and false rejection.
The installation and supply of the e-gates will be overseen by the Lisbon-based Vision-Box group in partnership with Accenture and ESP Global Systems following the signing of national framework contract on Sunday.
Concerns were raised earlier this year over the long delays being experienced by passengers passing through passport control at Dublin Airport.
In 2016, 13.8 million passengers were processed by immigration services at Dublin airport with passenger numbers at the capital’s airport growing by 46 per cent in the last five years.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said the introduction of the new gates would “greatly enhance our immigration controls, including border security, while at the same time providing an improved passenger experience through self-service and speedier passage through the immigration process”.
He said the arrival of the gates would form part of a wider strategy by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service to introduce Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Recognition. Planned changes to immigration services will also include automated checks of Interpol’s Lost and Stolen Travel Documents database.
The process of replacing gardaí with civilians at border control is ongoing. In 2015 it was completed in Terminal One while recruitment is now taking place for Terminal Two.