If Santa is bringing a drone to your house this Christmas, make sure you know the rules to fly it safely.

That is the advice from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) as drones are set to be a popular Christmas gift this year.

The IAA, which was the first aviation regulator in the world to introduce mandatory drone registration and regulations in December 2015, said that it is important that we all adhere to the regulations, so families can enjoy drones safely.  Drone owners must be aware of their responsibilities and ensure they operate their drone within safety rules at all times.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is set to implement new European safety regulations for the use of drones from January 2021.

The new European regulations, which will replace existing Irish laws will require the owners of most drones to register with the IAA.

Only the owners of a small drone weighing less than 250 grams with no camera or sensor, will be exempt from registering.

Mr Peter Kearney, Chief Executive IAA, said that with the increased use of drones, it is important that owners operate them safely and the new regulations will help to achieve this.

"The new drone regulations have been developed to ensure a consistent approach across Europe to the registration and regulation of drones. 

"We have a user-friendly online registration process to make it easy for owners to register and to carry out the necessary training on the use of drones," he said.

There are over 14,000 drones currently on the IAA register and the owners of those on the current register will be required to re-register under the new EU system.