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Question

135. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 110 of 23 April 2015, if she will reconcile her statement (details supplied) with evidence furnished by An Garda Síochána that requests to search aircraft at Shannon are always passed on to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, rather than acted on by An Garda Síochána. [17167/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As I have indicated to the Deputy in my response to Question No. 110 of 23 April 2015 and in previous Questions, the Garda Authorities consider fully in accordance with the law information in respect of any request to search an aircraft. An Garda Síochána remains fully committed to investigate all alleged breaches of criminal law involving the use of aircraft at Shannon Airport. I would point out, for the sake of clarity, that An Garda Síochána has no role in relation to the inspection of foreign State or military aircraft which, in accordance with international law, enjoy sovereign immunity.
Statutory powers of search and entry are bestowed on An Garda Síochána under various legislative provisions and when authorised by a Judge. However, these powers are exercised in circumstances where a member of An Garda Síochána has a reasonable suspicion that an offence has occurred supported by some evidence. The mere assertion of wrongdoing by a member of the general public is clearly insufficient in this regard. An 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.
It is not clear what evidence the Deputy refers to and if she lets me have further details in that regard I will seek the views of the Garda Authorities.