A Co Clare government deputy is seeking legislation to deal specifically with people who breach airport security and encroach onto active runways and taxiways following Tuesday’s incident at Shannon.
Fine Gael’s Joe Carey has slammed Independent TD’s Mick Wallace and Clare Daly for scaling a security fence at the airport and making their way across a busy apron in an effort to reach two US military aircraft and search them for illegal weapons.
The pair used a rope ladder to get over the perimeter fence at Shannon Airport and donned fluorescent jackets but were intercepted by airport police and operations staff before they could reach the planes.
They got within 100m of a Hercules C130 transport plane and a C40 jet, a military variation of the popular Boeing 737 which were at the time being protected by Irish Army personnel.
The pair were handed over the gardaí and taken to Shannon garda station for questioning however they were released without charge about 90 minutes later.
Deputy Joe Carey said: “It’s hard to believe that two members of Dáil Éireann would show such a blatant disregard for the law of the land. Their actions were grossly irresponsible and could have put innocent people using the airport and those working there in danger.”
“It’s clear that both Deputies were determined to garner as much media attention as possible and in the process damage Shannon Airport. This shocking incident highlights the need for a strengthening of our laws or the creation of a specific offence to deal with people who carry-out these dangerous acts,” Deputy Carey said.
“In the recently passed State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill a section introduced a new law with stringent penalties for those who use strobe lighting as a deliberate act to interfere with aircraft. In the same way, I believe those that choose to illegally access an airport must face a pre-determined punishment as prescribed in law or regulation,” he added.
Deputy Carey has written to Mr. Paschal Donohue TD the new Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, asking for such a specific new law or regulation to be introduced.”
Mick Wallace and Clare Daly have defended their actions however and have not ruled out breaking the law again.
Their actions were also welcomed by anti-war ground ShannonWatch.
A spokesman said: “At a time when the airport may be helping to supply the weapons used by Israel to kill and main civilians in Gaza, it is vitally important that we have proper oversight of what is on the military planes at the airport. Despite repeated requests, the authorities refuse to search the planes to ensure they are not in breach of international law”.
A file on Tuesday’s incident is being prepared by gardaí for the Director of Public Prosecutions.