Sunday 11 January 2009

Delayed runway plans affect 20 more houses

DAA causing 'confusion and irritation' as residents call for details of buyout scheme
Adrienne McDonnell: "None of us want to be bought out"

THE Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) informed 20 people in the St Margaret's area of Co Dublin it would buy their properties near the site of a planned second runway just weeks before it was announced the project was to be delayed by economic cutbacks.

The households were informed by post before Christmas that they were being accepted into a voluntary buyout scheme for which they had previously failed to qualify. It brought to 39 the total number of homes that could be bought by the DAA but, with recent revelations that the runway will be postponed, residents now say they do not now know what will happen.

Airport authorities, who say the project will be delayed for up to six years, say the offer to buy the properties remains on the table.

"You have no idea the amount of confusion and irritation the DAA has caused us," said local resident Sheelagh Morris. "We don't know where we stand, we don't know any details about the buyout."

The DAA refused to reveal any details of the scheme which covers properties in the immediate area of the site proposed for the second runway.

Engineers calculated the amount of noise that would affect local homes from increased air traffic. The properties either fell into a decibel category that warranted inclusion in the buyout programme or that warranted insulation of their homes.

But anger mounted locally when some houses qualified for the purchase scheme and close-by neighbours did not. "There was one house right beside another that wasn't taken into the scheme just because of the way the [reading] line went. It was absolutely ridiculous," said Morris.

A spokeswoman for the DAA admitted the division of the community in this way was a problem. On the back of this, the authority extended the programme to cover all the homes at Kilreesk Lane.

"Some of the residents were understand­ably angry because the contours divided the neighbours," she said. "The question was asked, 'How can they have that level of noise and not me?'

"It is a highly emotive and sensitive issue and we really do recognise that. You are talking about people's houses and homes here and it's very sensitive. We do appreciate that there are concerns there."

But despite efforts to appease the ongoing tensions, residents remain adamant they are receiving secondhand information and are being kept firmly in the dark.

"The letter that we got [regarding a buyout] still says that this is not a binding agreement. It means diddly squat; they have covered themselves," said Adrienne McDonnell, spokeswoman for the Concerned Residents' Association. "None of us want to be bought out. It's not like this is a housing estate; they are mostly half-acre sites, they are all big houses and a lot of people have family history here."

Sunday Tribune

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