Thursday, 16 November 2023
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Shannon Airport Facilities
49. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Ireland is compliant with the European Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 in relation to checks on US military at Shannon Airport on goods destined for Israel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50301/23]
I have addressed the wider issues relating to Ireland’s approach to the current crisis in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory on frequent occasions over recent weeks so I will focus my response on issues relating to diplomatic clearance for military aircraft, and the carriage of munitions of war on civil aircraft.
Under the terms of the Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order, 1952, all foreign military aircraft wishing to overfly, or land in, the State require diplomatic clearance from the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Diplomatic clearance is subject to strict conditions, including that the aircraft is unarmed; that it carries no arms, ammunition or explosives; that it does not engage in intelligence gathering; and that the flight in question does not form part of a military exercise or operation.
This policy is well known and is fully understood by the United States and other international partners.
There is also a long-standing process in place concerning the carriage of munitions of war on civil aircraft in Irish sovereign territory. Under the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Orders 1973 and 1989, it is expressly prohibited for civil aircraft to carry munitions of war in Irish sovereign territory, without being granted an exemption to do so from the Minister for Transport.
In considering any application for such an exemption in respect of munitions of war, the Department of Transport consults with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice to determine if there are foreign policy or security considerations to take into account. The process is robust and includes advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs in respect of international humanitarian law, Ireland’s international obligations and our wider arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation policy.