Saturday 26 April 2008

Plan to move Dublin Port meets wide approval

THREE-QUARTERS of respondents to a Dublin City Council study on the future of Dublin Bay have said that they want Dublin Port moved out of the city to an alternative location on the east coast, while just over 6 per cent said that the port should stay.

Some 400 submissions were made to the council on its plan, which proposed relocation of the port and development of a new "city quarter" on port lands.

The plan, which also considers the environmental issues surrounding the future of the bay, was released to public consultation last year. The report on the submissions received has now been published by the council.

The report, by consultants CDM, found that the "overwhelming majority" of respondents favoured relocating the port. The following were suggested as possible locations: Drogheda, Co Louth; Bremore near Balbriggan in north Co Dublin; Greenore, Co Louth; and Arklow, Co Wicklow.

Just 26 respondents were against moving the port. Of these, 20 were members of the public or residents' associations, and two were yacht/boat clubs. The remaining objectors were Dublin Port Company (DPC), Ecocem (a tenant on port lands), Tommy Broughan, Labour's transport and marine spokesman, Labour TD Ruairí Quinn and Fianna Fáil senator Ivor Callely.

The report is critical of the port company's response to the study. It says that while the company commissioned several reports in response to it, "very few new facts were presented" and the potential benefits put forward were not addressed by the submission.

The report also notes that the port company claimed an identical-sized land bank to what it currently owns in Dublin Bay would need to be acquired before the port could be relocated.

In its submission, Dublin Port Company said that moving would increase travel times and costs and would damage Ireland's attractiveness as a business location. The Harbours Act 1946 stated that the DPC had the right to revoke property rights given to tenants only if the land was needed for port-related uses, it said. It claimed that the €750 million spent on the Dublin Port Tunnel would be largely wasted if it was not used by port traffic.

The council's study said that relocation of the port would be the best option for the future of the area in terms of housing and social needs, the local and national economy and the environment. Relocation would also be the best option for the efficiency of port operations and for the growth of its market in exports and imports.

Under the relocation proposal almost 260 hectares of port land would be redeveloped, providing 28,000 new housing units, 1.19 million sq m (12.8 million sq ft) of office space and 300,000 sq m (3.23 million sq ft) of retail space. The entire project would be completed in 25 years.

The Irish Times

No comments: