A number of flights have been forced to divert to Shannon Airport after a drone was spotted at Dublin Airport this evening.

At around 6.45pm, air traffic controllers were alerted to a drone sighting at the airport and in line with protocols for confirmed drone sightings, operations at the airport were suspended.

Controllers issued radio messages to approaching and departing aircraft advising crews of the issue.

The pilots of all departing flights were advised that operations at Dublin had been suspended and they would not be taking off as a result of the sighting.

Aircraft already taxiing to the runway for departure were advised to hold position.

A Ryanair flight from Gatwick Airport in England already on approach to land, was instructed by air traffic controllers in Dublin to 'go around' after a drone was seen ‘over the airfield’.

The crew aborted their landing and flew back out over the Irish Sea to await further instructions.

The crew of Ryanair flight FR-113 from Gatwick to Dublin later opted to divert to Shannon and was cleared to do so.

Ryanair flights FR-7763 and FR-5150 from Alicante and from Glasgow respectively also diverted to Shannon.

Other aircraft on approach to Dublin were placed in holding patterns over the Irish Sea while flights scheduled to depart were grounded as the reported drone sighting was investigated.

It is understood the drone was observed over the area of the airport where aircraft hangars are located. Airport police officers responded to investigate the report, while it is understood gardaí were also alerted.

At around 7.10pm it was confirmed operations were ready to resume and flights were once again cleared to depart. Aircraft that had been holding were cleared to approach and land.

An Aer Lingus flight from Brussels to Dublin had planned to divert to Shannon but did not need to after it was confirmed that operations had resumed at Dublin.

Late last month, flight operations were temporarily suspended at Dublin Airport after a drone was detected in the vicinity of the airport.

It is illegal to fly drones within 5km of any airport in the State.