Written Answers. - Border Incursions.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

44 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he has raised with his British counterpart the continuing incidents of Border incursions by British forces, the latest being a helicopter overflight into County Louth which occurred on 13 March 1998. [7533/98]

Unauthorised crossings of the Border, including inadvertent ones, have always been viewed by the Government as a very serious matter. The Deputy can be assured that all incursions by British security forces personnel into this jurisdiction are immediately raised with the British authorities through the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in Belfast.

I instructed that the Border incursion by a British Army helicopter on 13 March be raised through the Anglo-Irish Secretariat. On this occasion, as previously, the British side were apprised of our strong concerns.

In response the British authorities have indicated that the incursion occurred due to navigational error. They have conveyed their apologies.