WATCH: Thinking of buying a drone this Christmas for use in Donegal - be aware of the regulations

Number of drones has increased hugely

People in Donegal thinking of buying a drone for Christmas are being urged by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) to read up on drone safety.

The Irish Aviation Authority became one of the first aviation regulators in the world to introduce mandatory drone registration and regulations in December 2015.

At that time, around 5,000 drones were in use in Ireland. Four years on, the number of drones registered in Ireland has trebled, to almost 14,000.

“Worldwide we’ve seen an upsurge in the use of drones and this is set to continue,” said Peter Kearney, CEO Irish Aviation Authority.

“But drones are not like any other toy. They can have very serious consequences if they collide with a person, an animal, an aircraft or many other objects. Therefore, if you do get a drone this Christmas, you need to know the rules so that you can fly it safely."

The IAA has set out 10 drone safety tips based on the drone regulations currently in place.  These involve the drone operator taking responsibility that they are always in control of the drone and that they remain in compliance with the law.  

Mr. Kearney continued “Thankfully the vast majority of drone users are compliant with the regulations. But if you do see anyone not complying with the regulations, we would encourage you to contact your local Garda station. Reckless use of a drone or inappropriate use of a drone camera may result in prosecution,” he added.

All drones weighing 1kg or more must be registered with the IAA via www.iaa.ie/drones.

Drones below 1kg can be flown without a permit, provided they remain no more than 15 metres above ground level and no more than 300 metres from the operator.

10 drone safety tips from the IAA:

Fly your drone no higher than 120 metres.
Make sure you can see your drone when flying (no more than 300 metres away).
Do not fly your drone over an assembly of 12 or more people, for example, at a parade, a concert or sports event.
Do not fly your drone within 5 kilometres of an airport or military controlled airspace.
Do not fly within 30 metres of a person, vehicle, vessel or structure not under your direct control.
Do not operate your drone outside of your direct line of sight.
Do not fly your drone in a restricted area such as a prison or military installation.
Always seek permission from the landowner for take-off and landing.
If your drone is over 1kg, make sure you register it on the IAA website. It’s the law.
Drone safety is your responsibility. Never operate your drone in a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of others. 

For more information on Drone Safety Regulations, visit ww

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