Sunday, November 01, 2009

Dublin Port Economic Study Doesn’t Justify Dublin Bay Reclamation - 28 October

Dublin Port Economic Study Doesn’t Justify Dublin Bay Reclamation - 28 October

Speaking at a public information meeting hosted by the Labour Party – “Dublin Bay: What Next” in the Clontarf Castle Hotel on Wednesday 28 October, Labour Party representatives, Cllr. Aodháin Ó Ríordáin and Bronwen Maher said the Labour Party is steadfastly opposed to the unnecessary reclamation of 21 hectares at the top of the Tolka Estuary, and that the recent Government’s Dublin Port Economic Study does not justify Dublin Bay reclamation. Also speaking at the meeting was Cllr. Dermot Lacey, newly elected chair of the Dublin Bay Task Force.

Cllr. Ó Ríordáin stated: “The Government commissioned two major bodies of work on Dublin Bay and Dublin Port. One, commissioned by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when he set up the Dublin Bay Task Force to draw up a Master plan for Dublin Bay, and this work has yet to be completed.

The second report, The Dublin Port National Development Plan Study by Indecon Consultants, has been completed and was published by Transport Minister Dempsey last August. This report makes a number of recommendations on the future of Dublin Port based on economic assessments. The three main scenarios outlined in the report include 1) options to relocate all or part of Dublin Port’s activities, 2) continue with the existing activities at Dublin Port with opportunities for expansion in line with demand; and 3) continuation of port activities at current levels with no scope for expansion.

The report concludes “the closure of Dublin Port is not justified on economic grounds as the benefits of alternative land use is less than envisaged and…would not justify the costs involved. However the Labour Party believe that the Transport Minister’s report also clearly does not justify proposals to reclaim 21 hectares of Dublin Bay.”

Bronwen Maher said: “The Labour Party’s preferred option for the future of Dublin Port is the retention of a vibrant, dynamic city port, removing large heavy port activity to an alternative site and without the unnecessary infilling or expanding into Dublin Bay”.

“However looking at the economic argument is only part of the challenge. What is strange about Minister Noel Dempsey’s port study is that it fails to address Climate Change issues or makes no mention of the fact that the port is located in an important EU recognised wild bird habitat, and any breach of this legislation will result in heavy fines for the State.

The Labour Party also believe that to proceed with any major development in Dublin Bay prior to the completion of the Dublin Bay Task Force’s work would be premature, and not in the interest of proper planning and development.
“The Dublin Bay Task Force should be allowed to complete its work drawing up the Master Plan for Dublin Bay, and the Labour Party calls on the Government and the Minister for the Environment John Gormley TD to intervene and ask Dublin Port to withdraw their application in the interests of proper planning and the sustainable development of the Bay”.

Earlier this year Labour Party Spokesperson on Transport, Tommy Broughan TD, made a strong submission to An Bord Pleanála opposing the 21 hectares reclamation plan on environmental, amenity and quality of life grounds and the inherent planning deficiencies of the proposal. The Labour Party submission called for the most efficient use of the existing 532 acres (215.431 hectares) of Dublin Port lands to provide for capacity out to 2030 and beyond and the abandonment of the reclamation plan.