Ministers promise to introduce tougher enforcement measures to tackle illegal use of drones at airports

Transport Secretary Eamon Ryan has promised to introduce stricter measures and enforcement rules to stem the threat of drone strikes at Dublin Airport following the weekend’s disruption.

Light operations were temporarily suspended on Friday, Saturday and Monday following drone activity at the airfield.

Several flights were affected and some had to be diverted to Belfast and Shannon airports.

Mr Ryan, along with Minister of State for Road Transport and Logistics Jack Chambers, met with representatives from the daa, the Aviation Authority of Ireland, the Department of Justice and An Garda Síochána tonight about the illegal use of drones at Dublin Airport over the bank holiday weekend.

Both ministers reiterated that they take this issue “very seriously” and will work closely with relevant government bodies to ensure the illegal use of drones is effectively combated.

They condemned the “unacceptable disruption” to passengers caused by the weekend’s incidents.

“The safety of passengers, flight crew and airport staff is the top priority for everyone involved,” they said.

“The measures taken over the St Brigid bank holiday weekend, including the suspension of operations, were in line with international flight safety best practices.

“At the operational level, all relevant bodies have committed to working together to ensure a quick and effective response to such incidents.

“daa operates a drone detection system that provides early warning of illegal drone activity and the information gathered by this system is used to conduct law enforcement actions, including criminal prosecutions.

“Under the Civil Aviation Code and the Criminal Code, summary and indictment proceedings may be conducted with the possibility of imprisonment for up to 7 years if convicted.”

Ministers said they would work across the government to “strengthen our capacity” to deal with such incidents, including exploring the potential for improved technological solutions.

A policy framework for drones is also under development and will include enforcement and compliance measures.

The publication of the policy framework is planned for the second quarter of this year, which will be preceded by a period of public consultation.

On Monday, a spokesman for the daa said the “reckless and irresponsible behavior” of those causing ongoing drone disruption at Dublin Airport was “unacceptable”.

“Those responsible will be prosecuted. While safety and security remain our top priorities, such disruptions cause great inconvenience to our passengers,” the spokesman said.

“Once again we would like to remind the public that it is illegal to fly drones within 5 km of the airport.”

The DAA said the airport’s drone detection system, along with input from airline pilots, ground crew and air traffic control, provides a “rigorous and robust” surveillance system that allows for a “safe and timely response to these incidents so we can focus on our top priorities, protection.” and security”. Ministers promise to introduce tougher enforcement measures to tackle illegal use of drones at airports

Fry Electronics Team

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