Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, has said the government must respond to repeated drone incidents at Dublin Airport by introducing long overdue legislation that would end the chaos witnessed in recent weeks.
The Meath TD accused Minister Eamon Ryan of being once again asleep at the wheel and of failing to respond to an obvious and increasing threat.
He added that the technology is there to address this issue but that the government has failed to put the necessary legislation that would facilitate those systems being put in place.
Teachta O’Rourke said:
“The security threats and flight disruption that drones can pose at our airports have been known about for more than a decade.
“Yet Eamon Ryan has been Minister for Transport for nearly three years and is acting as if this is a new problem.
“Minister Ryan says his department is working with the Departments of Defence and Justice but the solutions are obvious and it beggars belief that we are still waiting on legislation to provide for interventions that would take drones out of the sky using technology.
“If the government continues to fail to introduce this legislation, then Sinn Féin will.
“While the range of gadgets and technologies now available to airports, prisons, militaries and police forces to take drones out of the skies has increased exponentially in recent years, the authorities here have no equipment to disable or hijack a drone.
“The Irish Aviation Authority’s (IAA’s) Irish State Plan for Aviation Safety 2023-2025 is wholly inadequate and highlights how the government and its agencies have failed to provide anything close to an adequate response to drone threats.
“There are two actions contained in the plan relating to drone activity, the target date of each is too far away.
“One, that ‘the IAA will work with the Department of Transport and drone industry stakeholders to facilitate the safe integration of drones into the Irish civil aviation system’ has a target date of Q4 2024.
“The second, that ‘the IAA will work with aircraft operators, airport operators and ANSPs to address the risks of drone infringements at aerodromes in accordance with EASA guidance’ has a target date of Q4 2025.
“Minister Ryan needs to intervene here and do his job.
“It is simply not good enough for him to sit on his hands and be content that passengers face the prospect of further flight delays and cancellations due to drone activity for the next two years.”