AN OBJECTION by the Port of Waterford to plans by the Port of Cork to build a €226 million cargo terminal at Ringaskiddy has been described as "deeply flawed in substance and anti-competitive in its motivation".
The submission made to An Bord Pleanála by the Port of Waterford - on grounds that ample port capacity already exists in Ireland - has caused a deep rift between the two port companies.
On the first day of the oral hearing into the proposed development at Ringaskiddy yesterday, the chief executive of the Port of Cork, Brendan Keating, said the objection by the Port of Waterford was to be regretted.
More than 500 submissions have been received by the planning appeals board in relation to the plans by the Port of Cork to relocate its city operations to the Oyster Bank. The oral hearing is expected to take up to three weeks.
In his opening statement, David Holland SC, for the Port of Cork, said the reason for the proposed development was simple. The port's existing container terminal at Tivoli would shortly exceed its capacity - not merely for want of land but because of severe limitations on the size and number of ships that could dock there.
He accused the Port of Waterford of having abandoned the "traditional and proper co-operation and respect between competing nationally-important ports".
Joe Noonan, solicitor for Cork Harbour Environmental Protection Association, expressed his concern that the National Roads Authority and Health and Safety Authority would not be attending the hearing. He asked the hearing inspector, Paul Caprani, that they be directed to attend and answer questions.
Environmental officer with Fáilte Ireland Mary Stack said they wanted the hearing to consider the potential negative impact of the proposed development in relation to visual amenity, future navigability and water quality. In a statement yesterday, the Port of Waterford said it believed that what was proposed by the Port of Cork was "unwarranted and unnecessary in a context where ample port capacity exists on the island of Ireland".
"We further contend that the application made by Port of Cork is ill-conceived, unviable and unsustainable."
The Irish Times