Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Military Aircraft Landings
58. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade further to Parliamentary Question No. 56 of 6 March 2013 if he will confirm that the 608 foreign military aircraft that landed at Shannon Airport in 2012 were all unarmed, carrying no arms, ammunition or explosives; if he will also confirm that they did not engage in intelligence gathering, and that the flights in question did not form any part of military exercises or operations; and if this was not the case, if he will clarify the basis upon which the aircraft were permitted to land. [19384/13]
As outlined in the response to the Parliamentary Question referred to by the Deputy, the Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order 1952 gives the Minister for Foreign Affairs primary responsibility for the regulation of activity by foreign military aircraft in Ireland. Permission for foreign military aircraft to land at Irish airports is subject to assurances that the conditions mentioned by the Deputy, namely that the aircraft are unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives, do not engage in intelligence gathering, and that the flights in question do not form any part of military exercises or operations, are fully met. I have no evidence to suggest that these conditions were not met in relation to any of the 608 foreign military aircraft which landed in Shannon Airport in 2012.