417. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of complaints or requests to search suspect aircraft that were made at Shannon Garda Station from 2002 to December 2014. [49713/14]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am informed by the Garda authorities that a total of thirty three requests to search aircraft at Shannon Airport were made between the period 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2014.
Statutory powers of search and entry are bestowed upon the Garda Síochána under various legislative provisions and when authorised by a judge. However, these powers are exercised in circumstances where a member of the Garda Síochána reasonably suspects that an offence has occurred. These powers can only be used, therefore, where a Garda has a reasonable suspicion supported by some evidence. The mere assertion of wrongdoing by a member of the general public is clearly insufficient in this regard. The Garda Síochána has investigated a range of complaints of alleged unlawful activity at Shannon Airport and, where appropriate, files have been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. In all these cases, no further action was found to be warranted, owing to a lack of any evidence of unlawful activity.
Any person with credible information that Irish airports have been used for any alleged unlawful purpose should report their concerns to the Garda Síochána.