Mansfield airport has no permits for foreign flights
Conor Lally, Crime Correspondent
The airport owned by well known businessman Jim Mansfield has been facilitating foreign flights despite having no legal permission to do so, The Irish Times has learned.
Mr Mansfield's spokesman said all affected flights had now been directed to use Dublin Airport to clear immigration before flying to Weston Airport.
An application has now been made to secure port of entry status for Weston. A spokeswoman for Minister for Justice said this was being considered.
Between 600 and 800 flights have used the airport in the last three years that should not have. The matter is likely to raise serious questions about security at small Irish airports.
The planes have been entering the State through Weston Airport, Leixlip, Co Kildare, without the consent of the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, who designates port of entry status on airports.
In response to queries last night Supt Kevin Donohoe of the Garda Press Office said because Weston does not have port of entry status, no Garda immigration checks are carried out there.
He said an exception was made in the period surrounding the Ryder Cup, "during which special arrangements were put in place within the law".
Security sources said this was the only time that Weston was entitled to facilitate planes or passengers from outside the common travel area between Ireland and the UK.
News of the breaches have emerged following the discovery of cocaine and heroin valued at ?6 million in Belgium last September as it was being taken for loading on to a private jet owned by Mr Mansfield for its transportation to Ireland via Weston.
Mr Mansfield said he was unaware his plane had even been taken out of the country.
He told The Irish Times he was informed by the Garda in late January he had no permission to facilitate aircraft at Weston whose journeys originated from outside the common travel area. Mr Mansfield said before garda? contacted him he was unaware he should not be facilitating some planes and passengers. He said he was never contacted.
— Cecil Day Lewis
No its not - as everything about this article is a load of b*llsh*t
I reaks of a politician looking for re-election and wants to sling as much muck as possible to make themselves look good to the locals.
A very bad piece of journalism - Is the article about:
Foreign travellers entering Ireland via Weston
The status of Weston as a Port of entry
The special arrangements for the Ryder Cup
Who are the so called Security Sources.
Whats any of this got to do with the location of Mr Mansfield's jet
And of course we have to drag up the attempted Cocaine smuggling
I think you will find that there are processes and procedures available to allow foreigners to arrive via Weston but then if they were published in the paper there would be no story
Ireland & the UK are not members of the Schengen agreement, so therefore all entrants from non UK & Rep of Ireland destinations have to clear passport control. This is a fact.
Have to say, I never thought of it myself, but flights originating in France, etc that fly direct to non-approved entry points (and also sail similarly) are in breach of this.
Realistically, aviaiton wise, this primarily affects Weston, but I'm sure there have been private flights to other airfields in Mainland Europe to other airfields (e.g. Abbeyshrule) and similarly private sailings from the continent to unapproved entry ports.
The main problems with this are:
it breaches Irish immigration procedures.
it opens the possibility of some disreputable body bringing illegal immigrants into the jurisdiction
it opens small airfields to the political point scoring as seen in the media.
How to resolve without adding to the overhead of operating a small airfield and without having all visitors having to check into an approved entry point?
I don't know
Its easy. Since the new regulations came into force (2004) you can't accept "international" flights if you're not an approved entry point. Previous to these regulations all you had to do was to notify the relevant authorities in advance that an "alien" would be arriving and it was up to them as to whether or not they arrived to check it out, you could receive them once you had sent the notification.
The new law has big implications for the traditional fly-ins.
I had a look at this to try to understand this some more. It's not a very long act at all.
I found section 6:
6.?(1) A non-national (other than a seaman) coming by sea or air from outside the State shall not, without the consent of the Minister, land elsewhere than at an approved port.
(2) Such ports as may be prescribed shall be approved ports for the purposes of subsection (1).
It seems as if the port of entry is only for non-national.
Now I was curious about the defination of non-nationals. Is it non-Irish, non-EU, those who don't already hold a visa entitling them to enter the country?
However I couldn't quite find the required defination.
Section 1 defines non-national as
"non-national" has the meaning assigned to it by the Act of 1999;
So I had a look at the 1999 act.
Section 1 of the 1999 act defines a "non-national" as
"non-national" means an alien within the meaning of the Act of 1935 other than an alien to whom, by virtue of an order under section 10 of that Act, none of the provisions of that Act applies;
So now I need to see the 1935 act definations, and section 10. Unfortunately I can't find the 1935 act on-line.
Does anyone have access to it, to get the defination of a non-national, and section 10?
Aside from the John Kinsella case, has there ever been a suggestion that irish airstrips are being used for drug smuggling? Not to my knowledge.
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wee ... 54591.html
This isn't a big country. The flying community in this country is quite small, everyone knows everyone else. Airfield owners and operators will automatically be suspicious of strangers wanting to use their field and if someone flies in or out without permission and is met by shady characters. They'll know all about it. Aircraft operators and pilots are also going to be suspicious of people looking for something out of the ordinary. It isn't simply a question of hiring and aircraft and off you go.
In fact self declaration works very well. The fact that Customs feel comfortable enough about Weston that the only felt the need to check incoming flights eighteen times this year probably means that the system works and Customs are quite happy with it. Perhaps he might have spoken to Customs themselves rather than string together a series of possible scenarios with no evidence that it ever happened.
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