The first civil servants have started replacing gardaí doing passport control duties at Dublin Airport.

The initiative was suggested as a cost-saving measure in Colm McCarthy's report on public service numbers and expenditure.

Civil servants from the Department of Justice are currently doing immigration control duties at Pier B in Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport as part of a pilot scheme.

The civil servants work daytime hours Monday to Friday and gardaí take over outside those hours.

Gardaí still do all immigration control duties in the rest of Terminal 1 and in all of Terminal 2.

It is hoped that after the pilot scheme is reviewed, the civilianisation of passport control will be implemented in the rest of Dublin Airport and eventually spread to all airports and ferry ports across the country.

In his 2009 report on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure, Mr McCarthy found that staffing passport control was an inappropriate use of garda resources.

He recommended that these duties should be transferred to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.

In the ‘An Bord Snip Nua’ report, Mr McCarthy calculated that this would result in an annual savings of €1m a year, while also freeing up much-needed garda resources.

The pilot project at Dublin Airport has been agreed under the terms of the Croke Park Agreement, which allows for redeployment of staff to achieve such efficiencies.