130. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if her attention has been drawn to the impact the Garda helicopter has on residents who reside in close proximity to the M50 when it is in operation at night time; if there is a protocol in place to try and reduce the noise pollution from the Garda helicopter at night; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17076/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will be aware, the deployment of Garda resources, including air support, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the context of her identified operational requirements.
In that context I am advised by the Garda authorities that the Garda Air Support unit provides a 24 hour service in support of Garda specialist units and operational Gardaí on the ground. Personnel in the Garda Air Support Unit are very conscious of helicopter noise particularly at night and operate a noise reduction policy during night hours.
This policy includes:
- Where appropriate, performing circuits rather than hovering (hovering generates more noise)
- Increasing height to reduce noise where operationally possible
- Not remaining in any particular area longer than operationally necessary.
The majority of night flights are task driven and predicated on operational necessity. Whilst it is Garda policy to minimise noise pollution by Garda aircraft to the greatest extent possible, the Deputy will appreciate that it is not always possible to do so for operational policing reasons.