Drones to change Irish farming, says Clune

Drones will revolutionise farming, but regulations will be needed to protect people’s privacy, said Fine Gael Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune.

Speaking at a European Parliament debate on drone technology, Ms Clune said small flying drones, which can be bought for €400, could soon be used to check forestry, map farming lands, spread fertilisers and monitor sheep during the lambing season.

“Throughout Europe, drones are already being used for aerial photography but also for safety inspections of infrastructure, such as rail tracks, dams, bridges or power grids. National authorities are using them in disaster relief, such as to overfly flooded areas or to support firefighting, mountain rescue and to help with rural police patrols,” she said.

Carlow farmer Declan Brennan uses a drone to herd 100 sheep on his farm, and featured in a video which appeared recently on the www.IrishExaminer.com  website.

The US Federal Aviation Authority has granted Amazon permission to test drone deliveries of parcels. It wants to create a service called ‘Amazon Prime’ that would see small packages delivered to householders via unmanned drone delivery.

“While all this may seem very futuristic, drones or unmanned small flying devices are becoming a more common phenomenon across Europe,” said Ms Clune. “We will need pan-European legislation to cover issues like licensing and control of drones.”

She highlighted issues such as aviation safety, public security, people’s right not to be filmed and other such privacy issues that will need to be addressed when drones do begin to become common.


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