Drones. . . they’re really taking off!!

John A Sinnott Solicitors, drone

There is no doubt that the use of drones is becoming increasingly popular around the world, in Ireland and indeed, Wexford.  Originally used by the US Military when it was not safe to send in manned aircraft, drones are now used for search and rescue, photography, in film production, delivering packages and for monitoring dangerous animals!

There are almost 5,000 drones in Ireland and it is clear that with such a wide array of uses, that Irish regulation needed to be introduced to govern their use.

This legislation came into force on December 21st 2015 and states that all drones weighing 1kg or more must be registered with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).  Registrants must be aged 16 or over.

The new legislation prohibits users from operating their drones in an unsafe manner. This includes never operating a drone:

If it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight;
Over an assembly of people;
Further than 300m from the operator;
Within 120m of any person, vessel or structure not under the operator’s control;
Closer than 5km from an aerodrome;
In a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of others;
Over 120m above ground level;
Over urban areas;
In civil or military controlled airspace;
In restricted areas (e.g. military installations, prisons, etc);
Unless the operator has permission from the landowner for take-off and landing;
To drop any item (or animal!) regardless of whether they have a parachute.

To fly a drone contrary to these requirements, permission is required from the IAA.

These new regulations are to ensure safe and responsible use of drones.  However, there are no penalties currently in place for breach of any of these.  The regulation also doesn’t cover the whole issue of protection of privacy in relation to drones.

The use of drones will certainly be more commonplace in the coming years; and we expect, the need for legal advice in this area will grow in tandem.  Contact us if you’ve any concerns.