Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Military Aircraft Landings
The Deputy will be aware that prior permission is required for all foreign military aircraft to land at Irish airports and that, if granted, permission is subject to strict conditions, which I have outlined. Indeed bilateral relations between friendly nations are founded on mutual trust. Both parties have an interest in maintaining that trust. Details provided by diplomatic missions, including confirmation that aircraft are unarmed and carry no arms, ammunition or explosives, are therefore accepted in good faith as being accurate.
Deputy Daly will be aware from previous encounters inside and outside this House that arrangements for the regulation of activity by foreign military aircraft are kept under ongoing review. In line with this, as I have stated, my Department ensures that detailed and robust procedures are in place to ensure that all relevant parties are fully aware of the requirements relating to applications for permission for foreign military aircraft to overfly this State. Ministers are answerable to this Dáil and respond to numerous parliamentary questions on landings, overflights and military aircraft in Irish airspace. Arrangements at Shannon Airport were the subject of a specific inquiry by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions, of which Deputy Wallace was a member. I met the committee prior to its completion of its report. The committee also heard evidence from the then Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Secretary General of my Department.