Thursday 22 February 2018

Air Corps base to review security after break-in

Fergus Black

A FULL review of security was under way at an Air Corps base last night after a runway was damaged in an embarrassing break-in.

Queen Elizabeth II is expected to fly into Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel, Co Dublin, on an RAF flight to begin her historic State visit to Ireland next month.

The damage was discovered early yesterday morning as a CASA maritime patrol aircraft was being readied for take-off to take part in the search for the two missing fishermen off the east coast.

One line of inquiry is likely to focus on whether the vandalism might have been the work of a group opposed to the visit of the queen next month. Air Corps personnel, who carry out routine runway inspections before each flight, discovered a 50ft area on one of the two runways covered in fist-sized "pockmarks".

The damage was caused to part of the runway furthest away from Air Corps buildings and hangars and likely occurred between Saturday night and first light yesterday.

Following an assessment of the runway yesterday, the damage was classified as superficial.

It will undergo a thorough sweep to remove any debris, and is expected to be fully operational by this morning.

The military police and gardai are continuing to investigate the cause of the damage, which may have been caused by a pickaxe or similar implement.

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