Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (59)

Finian McGrath


154 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Transport if he has major public safety concerns for the civilian population and Army units in the Shannon Airport area while US forces are landing and passing through with weapons, lethal missiles, Mark 77 bombs and Patriot missiles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29528/03]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

Requests for exemptions under the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order 1973 are received from civilian air carriers carrying military troops with their personal weapons and ammunition.

Requests for exemption are also received from cargo carriers. The cargo on these flights includes items such as helicopter parts, rockets, grenades and cartridges. The items are described using their United Nations Classification Codes, UN Identification numbers, and International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, technical packing codes rather than by brand names or mark types. Military personnel are not carried on this type of flight.

As the day-to-day oversight of aviation safety falls within the remit of the Irish Aviation Authority, all applications under the above order, including details of the cargo carried, are submitted to the IAA for their observations. The IAA ensures all such requests are compliant with current safety regulations for the safe transport of dangerous goods by air as approved by ICAO.

Applications are also sent to the Departments of Justice and Law Reform and Foreign Affairs for their observations and the Department of Defence for information. Should these bodies express an objection to the operation of these flights, I would refuse to grant an exemption under the 1973 order.

Question No. 155 answered with QuestionNo. 146.