For Oral Answer on : 14/06/2022
Question Number(s): 83 Question Reference(s): 30456/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Transport the current progress with respect to a public consultation on a draft policy framework for unmanned aircraft systems; if it is envisaged that this policy will address concerns with respect to invasions of privacy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Significant progress has been made on the development of a policy framework for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
The aim of the policy framework is to set out the vision, strategy, and priorities for the development of the UAS sector in Ireland. The framework will guide high-level strategic planning and development of the UAS sector with the aim of supporting growth and innovation while managing safety, security, privacy and other aspects.
My Department has engaged extensively with primary stakeholders from relevant Government Departments and agencies to facilitate the development of a comprehensive and integrated policy. In July 2021, an Interdepartmental Steering Group was established, followed by the establishment of three working groups to focus on the key areas of compliance and enforcement, U-Space and planning, and enterprise development and networks. The three working groups reported back to the Steering Group in December 2021.
A targeted stakeholder consultation was held in March 2022.
My Department is currently collating the work of the working groups and the submissions received from the targeted stakeholders into a draft policy framework document. A public consultation is anticipated in Q3 of 2022, with the aim of a finalised policy framework for unmanned aircraft systems being published by end of this year.
I am aware that privacy rights are linked to societal acceptance of the use of UAS. With this in mind, my Department ensured that the Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner were appropriately represented on the working groups. My Department will continue to work closely with the Office of the Data Protection Commission as the policy framework is developed further. Data privacy considerations and the oversight and enforcement role of the Data Protection Commissioner will be integrated into the final policy framework.