Minister Donohoe and IAA promote introduction of new drone legislation

17th December, 2015

  • Drone registration to commence on 21st December 2015
  • Irish Aviation Authority to oversee registration of drones


Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) today announced a new drone regulation which includes the mandatory registration of all drones weighing 1kg or more from Monday, 21st December 2015.


The use of drones worldwide is expanding rapidly and there are estimated to be between 4,000 – 5,000 drones already in use in Ireland. Ireland has taken a proactive role in this fast emerging area and is currently one of only a handful of EU Member states that has legislation governing the use of drones.


The new legislation is intended to further enhance safety within Ireland and specifically addresses the safety challenges posed by drones.


From 21st December 2015, all drones weighing 1kg or more must be registered with the IAA via Drone registration is a simple two-step process. To register a drone, the registrant must be 16 years of age or older (Drones operated by those under 16 years of age must be registered by a parent or legal guardian). A nominal fee will apply from February 2016 but this has been initially waived by the IAA in order to encourage early registration.


Welcoming the introduction of drone regulation, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD highlighted the importance of the new legislation and commended the IAA for the efficient manner to have the new registration system in place so quickly.


‘The core safety message promoted today advocates the safe use of drones in civilian airspace. The development of drone technology brings opportunities as well as challenges for businesses and services in Ireland. I expect hundreds if not thousands of drones to be bought as presents this Christmas so getting the message to ensure that  new owners and operators are aware of their responsibilities and the requirement to register all drones over 1 kg from  21st December 2015 is key. Tremendous potential exists for this sector and Ireland is at the forefront of its development. The speedy response by the IAA to this fast developing aviation area will make sure that drones are properly regulated and registered for use. As a result, Ireland is well placed to exploit the drone sector and to ensure industry growth in this area.’

Mr Ralph James, IAA Director of Safety Regulation, said: “Ireland is already recognised worldwide as a centre of excellence for civil aviation and the drone sector presents another major opportunity for Ireland. We’re closely working with industry to facilitate its successful development here. At the same time, safety is our top priority and we must ensure that drones are used in a safe way and that they do not interfere with all other forms of aviation.


Mr James explained that drone registration has been made a mandatory requirement as this will help the IAA to monitor the sector in the years ahead. The IAA encourages all drone operators to take part in training courses which are available through a number of approved drone training organisations.


‘We would strongly encourage drone operators to register with us as quickly as possible, to complete a training course and to become aware of their responsibilities. People operating drones must do so in safe and responsible manner and in full compliance with the new regulations’, he said.


The new legislation prohibits users from operating their drones in an unsafe manner. This includes never operating a drone:


  • if it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight
  • over an assembly of people
  • farther than 300m from the operator
  • within 120m of any person, vessel or structure not under the operator’s control
  • closer than 5km from an aerodrome
  • in a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of others
  • over 400ft (120m) above ground level
  • over urban areas
  • in civil of military controlled airspace
  • in restricted areas (e.g. military installations, prisons, etc.)
  • unless the operator has permission from the landowner for takeoff and landing.


For further information please and see the IAA’s detailed Q&A sheet.


Notes to the Editor:

New drone regulation:

From the 21st December, drone registration is mandatory in accordance with the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order S.I. 563 of 2015. All drones over 1kg must be registered.

Which drones/model aircraft must be registered?

Those of 1 kg or more and less than 25 kg, without fuel but including any articles or equipment installed in or attached to the aircraft and including cargo at the start of its flight, must be registered.

Unmanned aircraft of 25 kg or more, are subject to the Irish Aviation Authority (Nationality and Registration of Aircraft) Order, 2015, and must be registered in a similar manner to manned aircraft.

Two Step Registration Process

In order to register your drone, you must first register with ASSET, the IAA’s online terrain mapping system. Once done, you will be able to register your drone via the ASSET system.

Age Restrictions

You must be over 16 years of age to register a drone. Drones operated by those under 16 years of age must be registered by a parent or legal guardian.