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Dublin: 18 °C Monday 1 June, 2020
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Russian bomber airplanes flew past the west coast of Ireland

The planes did not enter Irish airspace but were in an area the Irish Aviation Authority has control over.

Image: Angus MacRae/Flickr

RUSSIAN WAR PLANES flying close to Irish airspace this week has been strongly criticised by an opposition TD.

On Wednesday Russian planes capable of carrying weapons flew close to the west coast of Ireland with their safety transponders turned off as so not to be detected by civilian radar.

The two Russian bombers flew over the English Channel before moving west escorted by RAF Typhoon planes until they were out of UK airspace. 

Last month the Swedish government  complained about Russian aircrafts flying close to their airspace.

Irish airspace

In response to a query from TheJournal.ie, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport made it clear that the planes “did not enter Irish sovereign airspace at any time” but did enter ”an area for which the Irish Aviation Authority has air traffic control responsibility”.

The statement from the Department went on to say:

The IAA coordinated closely with their UK counterparts at all stages during the incident so as to avoid a risk to any civil aircraft during the incident. Although there was no such risk on this occasion, such non-notified and non-controlled flight activity is not acceptable.
The Irish authorities will discuss with their UK counterparts how best to seek to resolve this through the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Criticism 

timmy dooley Fianna Fáil's Timmy Dooley Source: Sam Boal/Photocall

Speaking about the the incident, Fianna Fáil Transport Spokesperson, said, ” The fact that the safety of the Irish travelling public was compromised by these war games is completely and utterly unacceptable.”

Ireland’s location means that we have some of busiest airspace in Europe with almost all transatlantic flights passing through our skies. The Russian and British unauthorised entry into our airspace posed a threat, not only to Irish air passengers but to thousands of people flying from Europe to the US.

Deputy Dooley went on to criticise the manoeuvres performed by the aircrafts as not being sanctions by the Irish Aviation Authority meaning air traffic controllers were unable to carry out their duties effectively.

A request has been put forward by Dooley for the British and Russian ambassadors to appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications to explain the incident.

He concluded by saying that it was “not an incident which can be brushed aside.”

Read: Here’s everything we know about an Aer Lingus sale so far

Also: The EU is getting tough on Russia. Well, kind of…

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