GARDAI have been requested to monitor suspicious individuals near airports following renewed concerns over laser-pens being pointed into the cockpits of incoming planes.

The move comes some nine months after Irish pilots called for a ban on laser-pens in light of their potential danger to incoming air traffic.

The Irish Airline Pilots Association (IAPA) has voiced its concern in relation to the activity, saying that in a worst case scenario, lasers could cause temporary blindness in pilots as they approach the runway.

Between September last year and January, up to a dozen such incidents were reported.

"This has been happening quite a bit where idiots are using them to shine into the cockpits of airplanes on approach," Captain Adrian Hinkson of IAPA said.

"If it gets you in the eye you're going to be incapacitated for up to half an hour and you can also suffer retinal damage. Gardai and the air traffic controllers have been extremely good, but without legislation people could escape with just a fine."

It is feared that such activity could jeopardise the safety of planes although this has been played down by Ryanair.

A spokesman said: "It's not a safety issue (but) there would be a concern that it would continue at Dublin Airport and we are encouraged that the guards are taking an interest.

Earlier this year Aer Lingus issued guidelines to pilots on what to do in the event of being targeted by the devices.