The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Brian Lenihan, T.D., today launched the first phase of the new Automated Fingerprint Identification System for An Garda Síochána and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) at Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park. 

The advantages of the new system, which is being delivered on a phased basis, include an enhanced ability to identify matches from poorer quality or smaller marks lifted at crime scenes, the ability to capture and store full sets of palm prints and an improved rate of ‘hits’ due to the new system’s ability to process a higher quality image of captured fingerprints.

Today marks the delivery and successful commissioning of the system which sees the replacement of the existing system in the Garda Technical Bureau and the installation of electronic fingerprint capture equipment called "livescan" units at the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner. This allows for the electronic taking and exchange of fingerprint data on persons seeking asylum with the central EU fingerprint database repository - EURODAC.  Livescan units have also been installed at Store Street Garda station in Dublin, at the Bridewell station in Cork and at Mountjoy Prison.

Subsequent phases, which will be delivered during 2008, will provide for the capture and storing of a person’s fingerprints upon registration by the Garda National Immigration Bureau and also provide Garda Immigration authorities with the ability to capture and store prints at ports of entry including sea and air ports.  Full integration of the new system with the Garda PULSE system and GNIB Information system will also be delivered in 2008.

Launching the new system, Minister Lenihan said: "I am committed to ensuring that An Garda Síochána receives every support necessary to enable them to operate effectively as a modern police force – including the provision of information and communications technology systems that will place them on a par with the best equipped police forces in the world.  

I am also committed to ensuring the State meets its responsibilities in the wider context of EU cooperation both in the fight against crime and the coordination of Member States’ efforts in respect of immigration and asylum.  Today marks a significant landmark in delivering on these commitments."

Following a procurement process last year a contract, worth an estimated €17.5m, was awarded to a consortium of suppliers led by Accenture and including Motorola and Daon to deliver the new system.

23 November 2007