Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Anti-infill plan for Dublin Bay endorsed

DUBLIN CITY councillors have endorsed council management's opposition to Dublin Port Company's plan to infill 21 hectares of Dublin Bay to expand its operations.

A critical report by assistant city manager Michael Stubbs was backed by councillors at their monthly meeting in Dublin City Hall last night. It will now be submitted to An Bord Pleanála.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Eibhlin Byrne told the meeting the proposed development would make the sustainability of the bay unmanageable. "It flies against our climate strategy," she said.

Cllr Deirdre Heaney (FF) said she was against the port company's application to An Bord Pleanála to reclaim the land on the grounds the application was "premature". Two Government reports on the matter were pending, she said. The option to relocate port operations to Bremore in north Co Dublin was "very, very viable".

Cllr Bronwen Maher (G) said the plan to infill could cause extra flooding around the city, while Cllr Gerry Breen (FG) said: "We ignore the advice of the Environmental Protection Agency at our peril." Meanwhile, Cllr Dermot Lacey (Lab) said the bay was "too precious" to allow "piecemeal" development to take place.

However, Cllr Dr Bill Tormey (FG) said he supported the port company's plan. He claimed the proposal to move port operations to Bremore was "in the never-never land" and a "fortune" had already been spent on the tunnel.

Councillors who are members of the Dublin Port Company board were obliged to declare their membership and withdraw from the meeting last night. They are Cllr Paddy Bourke (Lab), Cllr Tom Stafford (FF) and Cllr Kevin Humphreys (Lab).

In a statement issued yesterday, the port company insisted a 21-hectare expansion would "provide much needed additional capacity at Dublin Port which is of strategic importance to the Irish economy and Ireland's capital city". The company said the provision of deeper berths would enable the port to cater for larger vessels.

Dublin Port Company said it had completed an extensive planning application, which had been submitted to An Bord Pleanála.

The Irish Times


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