I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 19 together.
Following an application from the US authorities, two US Air Force C-130 transport aircraft were granted permission to land at Shannon Airport on 30 May 2002 for a stay of four days duration. The purpose of the request to visit Ireland was described by the US side as crew rest and training. We understand this involved routine proficiency training including instrument approaches. The US indicate that it is customary to use different locations to practice these manoeuvres in order to broaden their experience.
The visit was routine. The two transport aircraft arrived at Shannon on 30 May. On 31 May they conducted a sortie around the South West coast. On the following day they flew to Scotland and returned to Shannon. On 2 June the planes did not fly and they departed at 8.30 a.m. on 3 June to return to their base at Ramstein, Germany. The fact is that there was no request to carry out an exercise in Irish airspace and no such exercise took place.
Under the Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order, 1952, foreign military aircraft require the permission of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to overfly, or land in, the State. In the case of routine landings of military aircraft, permission is granted, on a case by case basis, subject to confirmation that the aircraft is unarmed, does not carry arms, ammunition or explosives and does not form part of a military exercise or operation. In accordance with standard procedures, the US side confirmed that these conditions were being met in respect of the two aircraft involved.