Lightning struck an aircraft carrying Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern from Dublin to Belfast, but no one on board was hurt, an Irish government spokesman said overnight.

"The plane was struck by lightning as it was approaching Belfast. Everyone is fine," the spokesman said.

Public broadcaster RTE said eight passengers and four crew were aboard the Gulf Stream jet, which was taking Mr Ahern to Belfast to attend events marking the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that largely ended sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.