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First civilians to begin work in passport control

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Civilians will be starting work inspecting passports at Dublin Airport

Civilians will be starting work inspecting passports at Dublin Airport

Getty Images/Hemera

Civilians will be starting work inspecting passports at Dublin Airport

JUSTICE Minister Frances Fitzgerald will today appoint 42 civilian immigration officers to help resolve delays at passport control in Dublin Airport.

The introduction of civilians into immigration control is aimed at freeing up garda resources to focus on community policing.

It is also hoped it will reduce queues for passengers waiting to have passports checked.

The roll-out is part of an overall plan to have the airport's border control run entirely by civilians by the end of the year.

The new employees will join the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of the Department of Justice and Equality, where they will begin their training before being assigned to Dublin Airport.

Minister Fitzgerald set the "civilianisation" of the passport control as a key objective of the Immigration Service this year and the first recruitment phase is considered a "major milestone".

"This initiative is part of the minister's focus on reforming policing in Ireland," a spokesman said. "It is targeted at civilianising non-frontline garda tasks to free gardaĆ­ for core policing duties and to provide a visible policing service in our communities," he added.

It is expected more civilians will be appointed as immigration officers in the coming months.

Gardai

The minister announced last year that 80 civilians would take the place of 125 gardai currently operating passport control.

It will give garda management some of the additional manpower it has been seeking since the recruitment freeze six years ago. Last year, 300 new garda recruits were budgeted for by the Government.

Irish Independent