Minister calls special meeting to assess threat of drones to Irish airports

Minister calls special meeting to assess threat of drones to Irish airports

The Transport Minister has called a special meeting of an expert industry group to assess the threat of drones could have on Irish airports.

Shane Ross is to hold a meeting of the National Civil Aviation Threat and Risk Group tomorrow to assess and advise him on the recent incidents at British airports which caused travel chaos when planes were grounded at both Heathrow and Gatwick.

Gardaí, the Defence Forces and the Irish Aviation Authority will all brief the Minister who has promised to take any action needed to respond to the threat of illegal drone activity around Irish airports.

“There are already strict rules in Ireland around the use of drones, including an exclusion zone of five kilometres around airports," he said. "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. "

Mr Ross also received Cabinet sign-off on proposals for changes to the Ireland-United States Preclearance Agreement at Dublin and Shannon Airports to allow for extra capacity.

Minister calls special meeting to assess threat of drones to Irish airports

It has been agreed that the cost of these enhanced preclearance services will be split between US authorities who will continue to fund a baseline level of service with additional facilities being substantially paid for by the two airport authorities.

Dublin and Shannon are currently the only preclearance locations in Europe, with 1.7 million passengers availing of the service in 2017.

“US Preclearance is a valuable asset for Ireland, allowing people move more easily between Ireland and the USA, enhancing the long and unique relationship between the two countries," Mr Ross said.

Separately Cabinet agreed to fund the compensation of people who were owed thousands of euro following the collapse of the Arc Adoption agency in 2015. Around 70 perspective parents who had hoped to adopt a child are still owed a refundable fee of €2,750.

The total cost is €192,500 will come from within the resources of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

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