Drone technology is advancing all the time but Ireland’s law enforcement may not be able to keep pace.
In early 2023, drones illegally disrupted flights at Dublin airport and gardaí were given extra powers to tackle this. Since then, our team has been contacted about alleged arrests in the industry.
As personal drone use increases, and privacy and safety concerns with it, our investigation will examine whether Ireland’s laws are up to scratch and whether our law enforcers are adequately trained.
WHAT YOUR FUNDING SUPPORTS
Irish airspace has historically been used only by manned aircraft so regulations need to catch up with drones. The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) had over 16,000 trained drone pilots in 2023.
Drones intersect with many aspects of Irish law and there has been confusion over where drones are allowed to fly, what training is needed and who is in charge or enforcement.
In 2023, a statutory instrument gave gardaí the power to prosecute offenders whereas previously, it was up to the IAA to enforce the law.
We will investigate whether the law is unclear and speak to those in the industry about alleged arrests. We will also examine what training is given to gardaí now enforcing drone law.
Finally, using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, we want to examine the key actors lobbying for changes to the law.