Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Military Aircraft Landings
86. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade further to Parliamentary Question No. 51 of 14 February 2019, the meaning of weapons intended for use in international crisis management and peace support operations; and if examples of exemptions granted in such circumstances over the past two decades will be provided by the international crisis management event and peace support operation in question. [8993/19]
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has primary responsibility for the regulation of civil aircraft.
Civil aircraft are prohibited from carrying weapons or munitions of war through Irish airspace and airports unless an exemption has been obtained in advance from the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. In considering requests made by commercial carriers, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport seeks the advice of other Departments, including my Department, on any foreign policy issues that may arise.
My Department's provision of advice is guided by and accords with Ireland's longstanding policy of military neutrality. As such, my Department generally recommends against granting exemptions to carry munitions of war except for flights carrying troops and their unloaded personal weapons or for those intended for use in international crisis management and peace support operations.
While it is not the practice to comment on individual applications, I can advise that instances of my Department not having provided a negative recommendation over the last two decades include an application in 2009 for carriage of munitions destined for the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Chad and similar applications in 2014, 2016 and 2017 for equipment in support of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Lebanon. However, the decision to authorise or refuse applications for exemptions is a matter for the Minster for Transport, Tourism and Sport.