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Air Corps used to deport criminals to Lithuania due to pandemic

Man (46) extradited back to Ireland to face drugs charges in Dundalk

The use of the Air Corps to transport prisoners is rare but not unheard of. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The Irish Air Corps was used to transfer five people to and from Lithuania this week following extradition and deportation orders.

Four of the men had completed prison sentences in Ireland for robbery and drugs offences and were the subject of deportation orders. A fifth man was extradited back to Ireland in connection with drug offences.

A Casa Cn252 aircraft was used to fly the 46-year-old, who was the subject of a European arrest warrant, back to Ireland. It was then used to fly the four EU nationals to Lithuania.

The Garda typically use commercial airlines for extraditions and deportations. However, it is understood this was not an option due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The use of the Air Corps to transport prisoners is rare but not unheard of. “Óglaigh na hÉireann have a long-standing formal relationship with An Garda Síochána with respect to the facilitation of the movement of prisoners to and from Ireland,” a Defence Forces spokesman said.

It is understood similar flights are planned for the near future.

The man extradited back to Ireland was arrested on his arrival by detectives from Dundalk Garda station. He appeared before Dundalk District Court on Wednesday where he was remanded in custody to appear again next Wednesday.