Dáil Éireann - Volume 318 - 27 February, 1980

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - State Executive Jet.

15. Mr. O.J. Flanagan asked the Minister for Defence the Government's decision in relation to the State executive jet with particular regard to persons to be provided with air transport besides members of the Government and civil servants; on whose decision such persons will be carried; if the families of members of the Government are to be accommodated in the aircraft and if he will make a statement outlining the approved regulations by the Government in this matter.

Mr. Faulkner: The approved arrangements for the use of the twin jet-engined transport aircraft operated by the Air Corps provide that Ministers, Ministers of State, authorised officials of the public service and other persons authorised by the Minister for Finance may travel on the aircraft.

Mr. B. Desmond: Will the Minister state if that includes members of the European Parliament when sanctioned by the Minister concerned?

[659] Mr. Faulkner: What does the Deputy mean by “the Minister concerned”?

Mr. B. Desmond: I read a report that a member of the European Parliament from Northern Ireland was carried in the aircraft in question.

Mr. Faulkner: Anybody outside the specific grouping I mentioned, namely, Ministers, Ministers of State and authorised officials of the public service and other persons authorised by the Minister for Finance——

Mr. B. Desmond: It has to be authorised by the Minister for Finance?

Mr. Faulkner: Yes.

Mr. B. Desmond: If a particular Minister is availing of the aircraft—and I approve of the purchase and the use of the aircraft—does that Minister have to contact the Minister for Finance if he wants to give a lift in the plane to somebody wishing to return to Ireland or has he authority to do this on his own behalf?

Mr. Faulkner: No. If he believes it would be proper to do what the Deputy has set out in his question he may approach the Minister for Finance to get permission. He has not the authority to do so on his own.