Know Your Rights: Rules For Operating Drones 

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

Question: I am buying a drone for my son as a gift this Christmas. What are the rules for flying it?

Answer: Drones and model aircraft are both considered small unmanned aircraft and the same rules apply to their operation.

The rules are set out in the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order 2015 (SI 563/2015).

In June 2019 the European Union published new drone regulations, which will come into force in the coming years. For the time being, drones will continue to be regulated under national legislation.

Continued below…


All drones weighing 1kg or more must be registered with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). This includes the weight of the battery and all attached equipment, including cargo, at the start of its flight.

You register your drone online at Your son must be over 16 years of age to register the drone, otherwise it must be registered by a parent or legal guardian.

If your drone weighs 4kg or more, you must complete a drone safety training course before operating it.

You must not operate a drone in a negligent or reckless manner which would endanger the life or property of others. You must not operate a drone:

• Farther than 300 metres from you or out of your direct line of sight
• Over 120 metres above ground level
• Over urban areas or over a group of 12 or more people
• Within 120 metres of any person, vessel or structure not under your control
• Closer than 5 kilometres from an aerodrome
• If it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight
• In civil or military controlled airspace or in restricted areas such as prisons

If you want to operate your drone outside these limits, you must apply to the IAA for a specific operating permission and complete a drone safety training course.

You must have permission from the landowner for take-off and landing. There may be privacy or trespass issues if you operate a drone over private property.

While you do not need insurance to operate a drone it is recommended that you are insured and that you complete a drone safety training course.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

• Contact us in: Tralee on Tel: 0761 07 7860 ; Killarney 0761 07 7820; Listowel 0761 07 7840; Kenmare 0761 07 7810; Caherciveen 0761 07 7780. 

Outreach Services – please call Tralee for more information: Killorglin weekly- Mon & Tues 10am – 2pm (from 4Nov19) Dingle monthly – 3rd Tuesday monthly 10am – 2pm 

Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000

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