Monday 12 October 2009

Dublin port land infill hearing to reopen

AN BORD PLEANÁLA is to reopen a planning hearing into Dublin port proposals to infill 52 acres of Dublin bay.

The hearing was suspended last month after it emerged the board’s advisers HR Wallingford, had undertaken work on plans for Bremore port which is a potential rival for Dublin’s port’s expansion plans.

In a letter received by the parties to the hearing yesterday, the board said it did not accept there was a conflict of interest.

However, the board said it would be changing its advisers and dispensing with the services of HR Wallingford.

The hearing will reopen when new advisers read themselves into the brief.

The issue of conflict arose after it emerged during the inquiry that HR Wallingford had provided advice in 2004 to Drogheda Port Company which is planning a deep water port at Bremore, in north Co Dublin.

In deciding there was no conflict of interest the board noted the HR Wallingford adviser assigned to the case commenced employment with the company only in 2007. It also noted that in recent years HR Wallingford had also worked directly or indirectly for both Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Council.

The board said it will now appoint a new expert to replace the adviser but will reconvene the oral hearing under inspector Brendan Wyse as soon as feasible.

Welcoming the news, chairman of Dublin Bay Watch, Gerry Breen, said it was ‘‘keen to put our side of the argument to the hearing”.

Irish Times

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