Drone Laws in Ireland

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of Ireland

 Irish Aviation Authority (IAA)

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Ireland

The Ireland agency responsible for drone safety, IAA, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the link above.

Flying and operating drones in Ireland is subject to European Union Regulation 2019/947. The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) supervises and implements the Regulation in Ireland. This reform aims to create a truly harmonized drone market in Europe with the highest level of safety. In practice, it means that once a drone Οperator has received authorization from its state of registry, they will be allowed to circulate in the European Union freely. According to the level of risk involved, this new legal framework will introduce three categories of drone operations: Open, Specific and Certified

Drone operations are to be conducted according to the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 (as amended).

Are drones allowed in Ireland?

According to IAA, drones are allowed in Ireland, subject to IAA and EASA regulations. Read on for details.

Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Ireland:

Drone operators must register all drones in Ireland. Following registration, you must adhere to the following rules.

  • Drones may fly up to 50 meters (170 feet) above ground or sea level in the Open category and up to 120 meters (400 feet) in the Special category. (The IAA may grant exemptions to operators of special category drones.) 
  • Direct visual contact with the drone is required, and the operating distance should not exceed 500 meters. 
  • Avoid flying too close to residential areas or populated areas. 
  • Maintain a safety buffer zone of one kilometer around residential areas. 
  • Unless the owner/person consents, a safety distance of 500 meters from isolated buildings, people, vehicles, animals, and structures is required. 
  • Avoid flying near airports and heliports. Stay A minimum of eight (8) kilometers away from airports and three (3) kilometers from heliports for safety. 
  • At no time is it permissible to fly a drone at night. 
  • There shall be no flying over, within, or near military installations, public utility installations, archaeological sites, or public or private facilities.

Open Category

Given the low level of risk, neither prior authorization by the competent authority nor a declaration by the drone operator is required. The drone’s total takeoff mass must be less than 25kg, and it must be operated within a visual line of sight at a maximum altitude of 120m.

Special Category

Considering the moderate level of risk involved, flights in this category require authorization before the operation. The permission is given considering the mitigation measures identified in an operational risk assessment, except in specific standard scenarios where an operator declaration is sufficient.

Certified Category

Given the inherent dangers, certification of the drone and a licensed remote pilot are required. If your drone is capable of carrying people, you fall under the Certified category!

EASA Summary of Drone Flight Operation Requirements

EASA Summary Table of Drone Flight Operation Requirements
EASA Summary Table of Drone Flight Operation Requirements

Note for foreign operators

Operator Registration (Non-EU Residents)

  • If you are coming from a non-EU country and this is the first time you will fly your drone in an EU country, you MUST register as an Operator.
  • Upon registration, you will receive a unique Operator Registration number which you MUST attach to your drone. If you have several drones, the same number must be attached to all of them.
  • You are not allowed to fly in NO FLY ZONES, and you must keep aways a minimum of 8km distance away from airports/heliports.
  • If you already conducted operations in another EU country before going to Ireland, you must not register again. You always register to the first non-EU country you have conducted flights

Remote Pilot Certificate (Non-EU Residents)

  • If you want to fly your drone in Ireland and live in a non-EU country, you must hold a Remote Pilot Certificate issued from an EU country.
  • You can get the A1/A3 Certificate by registering with the online Remote Pilot School.
  • The online training and exam are required for those who want to fly a drone in the ‘Open’ category in subcategories A1/A3.
  • The pass mark is 75%, and you have 3 tries in total to pass.
  • Once you pass your exam, you will receive your remote pilot certificate. Its validity will be 5 years.
  • You must have your Remote Pilot Certificate in your possession whenever you plan to perform drone operations in Ireland and present it when asked by the authorities

How to register as a drone pilot or operator in Ireland?

According to European Regulation (EU) 2019/947, registration is mandatory for UAS operators (not for UAS themselves).

The UAS Pilot, also known as the Remote Pilot (RP), is the person physically behind the UAS flight controls. They are fully responsible for the safety of the flight throughout operations.

The UAS Operator is the person or company who oversees operations and gives flight instructions. This person or legal entity bears all responsibility for the operations of the drone (s) on their behalf. Very often, in the OPEN category and as an individual, the Pilot and the Operator are the same person.

Who should register?

As part of the OPEN category, registration is compulsory for operators:

  • UAS that have a mass of 250 g or more; 
  • UAS that have a mass of less than 250 g but: 
    • are able to operate at speeds greater than 90km / h 
    • are equipped with a camera or a microphone, if these UAS are NOT toys * 

* A UAS is a toy when a manufacturer intends it for children under the age of 14 and meets the minimum safety criteria required to be so named. Compliance with these standards naturally limits the capabilities of the UAS (size, weight, non-dangerous spare parts, no powerful motor, etc.): see Directive 2009/48 / EC of 18 June 2009 on the safety of toys

Under the SPECIFIC category, registration is compulsory for all operators.

Natural persons can only register in the country where they reside.

Legal persons must register in the country where their principal place of business is located.

Registration can only be done in one Member State at a time.

How do you register in Ireland for drone operations?

The operator registration procedure begins at the online IAA registration link

This UAS operator registration number is valid for one year and must therefore be renewed periodically following the same procedure. The operator therefore always uses the same number unless the latter is permanently deregistered from the register.

Drone Permit and Registration

Obtaining a drone permit in Ireland is a simple process. First, you will need to visit the Ireland Civil Aviation Authority’s official website and register your drone. Drones weighing more than 1kg but less than 25kg must be registered with the aviation office. Additionally, light drones that flew more than 15 meters above the ground must be registered. 

You can easily register online if you are at least 16 years old. A fee of 5 Euros will be charged to process the registration, which can be paid via credit card. 

When registering for a drone permit to fly in Ireland, ensure that you meet the following requirements:

  • Valid drone insurance.
  • A proof of remote pilot license, such as FAA Part 107.
  • Your contact information and details.
  • Your drone model, serial number, and type.

Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Ireland

Important Steps for Flying a Drone In Ireland

  1. Create an account on MySRS. The first step is easy, sign up with your email address. After that, you need to “Verify your identity”. This helps streamline all your future interactions with the IAA. You will only have to do this once!
  2. Take Online Training. You should take the online training first. It is free and only takes about 15 minutes. You will watch a short video and then answer 40 simple questions. This will give you a “Proof of Online Training” certificate.
  3. Register as Drone Operator. The new regulations require that you register as a Drone Operator. You no longer register the drone itself, rather you yourself become an operator. Think of it like you’re now a mini drone airline!
  4. Remote Pilot Competency. If your drone is above a certain weight, or you wish to do a certain type of drone flying, you will require an additional pilot competency certificate. You will apply to begin this training on MySRS but you will be required to actually attend a designated UAS training organization “DUTO” to complete the training. This is not an approval to actually fly the drone. Depending on the size of your drone or the type of flying you want to do, your online training may suffice, or you may require additional training. Just like a pilot!

See general EASA rules above.


Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Ireland

Important Steps for Flying a Drone Commercially In Ireland

  1. Create an account on MySRS. The first step is easy, sign up with your email address. After that, you need to “Verify your identity”. This helps streamline all your future interactions with the IAA. You will only have to do this once!
  2. Take Online Training. You should take the online training first. It is free and only takes about 15 minutes. You will watch a short video and then answer 40 simple questions. This will give you a “Proof of Online Training” certificate.
  3. Register as Drone Operator. The new regulations require that you register as a Drone Operator. You no longer register the drone itself, rather you yourself become an operator. Think of it like you’re now a mini drone airline!
  4. Remote Pilot Competency. If your drone is above a certain weight, or you wish to do a certain type of drone flying, you will require an additional pilot competency certificate. You will apply to begin this training on MySRS but you will be required to actually attend a designated UAS training organization “DUTO” to complete the training. This is not an approval to actually fly the drone. Depending on the size of your drone or the type of flying you want to do, your online training may suffice, or you may require additional training. Just like a pilot!
  5. Drone Operator ID for companies. If your company has drones, the company should obtain an Operator ID. The staff of the company who actually fly the drones should take the online training and/or pilot competency certificates depending on the types of operation. The first step is your administrator needs to get their own MySRS account (Step 1)
  6. Verify your company. To obtain an operator ID for your company, you must first “verify” your company on MySRS. This is a simple process where you log in and submit a form saying you are a legitimate officer/agent of the company and you wish to access IAA services on behalf of the company.
  7. Register for Operator ID. Once your company is verified, you can then apply to obtain an Operator ID for the company. As an operator, the company is responsible for making sure any staff that fly the drone have sufficient competencies (this may mean they need to obtain a Remote Pilot Competency (step 4)

See general EASA rules above


Useful published information on flying drones in Ireland

Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Ireland…

NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

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