Group to meet over threat of drones to Irish airports

Group to meet over threat of drones to Irish airports

The Minister for Transport Shane Ross will be briefed later today on the threat posed by drones to Irish airports.

The move follows sightings of the devices at Gatwick and Heathrow airports in London which caused huge disruption.

The National Civil Aviation Threat and Risk Group will meet to discuss any implications the incidents might have for airports here.

The body includes members of the Irish Aviation Authority, the gardai and the Defence Forces.

Mr Ross has promised he will take any action necessary in order to respond to the threat of illegal drone activity around Irish airports.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Ross said: "There are already strict rules in Ireland around the use of drones, including an exclusion zone of five kilometres around airports.

The misuse of drones is an offence, and flying drones in controlled Irish airspace or within five kilometres of an airport is a very serious matter.

Fianna Fail have called for robust legislation to be put in place to prevent cases of drones flying over Irish airports, with transport spokesperson Robert Troy saying new laws should be looked at as a matter of urgency

Drones are regulated in Ireland under the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order, 2015, which provides that all devices weighing over 1kg are to be registered with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

Under the Act, a drone can never be operated if with will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight or in civil or military controlled airspace.

Meanwhile, Dublin Airport was fined €600,000 last year for making passengers wait too long to get through security.

According to The Times Ireland edition, there were four breaches of a rule which sets the limit at half an hour.

The longest wait time recorded was 55 minutes, while one breach was just eight seconds over the limit.

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