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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 15 Nov 1979

Vol. 316 No. 11

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Over-flying of Foreign Helicopters.


asked the Minister for Justice the instructions, if any, issued to the gardaí in regard to foreign helicopters overflying our territory.

Could I ask a question arising out of Question No. 10? Did the Minister answer No. 10?

Could I ask, arising out of the answer to Question No. 10, is it a criminal offence to overfly the Border?

I think that is a question that should be down to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Could I further ask if a citizen living in the Border area reports the fact that there has been an overflight——

Question 10 and Question 11 have been answered.

I am afraid I did not hear the answer to question No. 10.

Questions Nos. 10 and 11 have been answered.

Arising out of Question No. 11, on this question of co-operation with the Garda, could I ask, in relation to co-operation by citizens in that area, if an overflight is reported by a civilian from that area, is a record kept of that overflight? Has it been the practice to keep a record of that?

There is nothing in Question No. 11 about overflight.

That is a separate question. The answer to Question No. 12 is that it would be contrary to long-established practice to publish what instructions, if any, the Garda may have in a particular topic, especially in a matter affecting security.

Arising out of the answer to Question No. 12—I am in order here—could I ask the Minister if a civilian in that area reports an overflight of a British helicopter because it is causing trouble, or a nuisance, or simply because it is an overflight, is a record kept of that reported overflight? Has this record been kept in the past?

Again, that is an entirely separate question from the ones before me, where I am asked if I would make known the instructions given to the Garda and I said that I cannot because it is a matter affecting security.

Could I ask, then, should civilians living in that area, who see British helicopters overflying, report that fact, or should they ignore it?

That is entirely a matter for the civilians.

If somebody is acting in breach of our laws, surely a civilian has a responsibility and should discharge that responsibility by reporting the breach to the Garda? Would the Minister not agree with that?

Arising out of Question No. 12, I cannot honestly debate what the responsibilities of citizens are, in relation to any particular subject.

In relation to reporting a crime?

In relation to anything. I would hope that Deputy Browne and every other Member of this House would agree that the Garda Síochána can only function with the wholehearted support of the public at large——

That is my point.

——on all matters.

Arising out of the Minister's reply, could I ask the Minister will a record be kept, as from now, and has a record been kept up to now of reports——

That is a separate question.

——of this kind made to the Garda?

The Deputy has asked that question several times and in several ways.

A sticky question.

The answer is not making it any stickier, for the Deputy, anyway.