As the Deputy will recall, as Minister for Defence at the time of the accident he and the then Minister for Transport agreed jointly that the investigation into the Air Corps PC 9 accident would be conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) of my Department, pursuant to Regulation 27 (1) of S.I. No. 205 of 1997 Air Navigation (Notification and Investigation of Accidents and Incidents) Regulations, 1997.
Investigations by the AAIU are carried out strictly in accordance with international and European provisions. This includes seeking the assistance of relevant expertise from the aircraft operator, manufacturer or other interested parties as required. These experts come under the control of the AAIU Investigator-in-Charge as provided for in the regulation. Regulations provide for investigations to be held in private and are confidential. The sole purpose of such Investigations is the prevention of future accidents and incidents and not to apportion blame or liability. As the AAIU is independent in the conduct of its investigations, I do not propose to become involved in individual investigations.