Dublin Port project could cost more than €150m

Dublin Port Company has said it will hand over the land it owns on Bull Island to Dublin City Council if it is granted planning permission for new port facilities.

The company plans to seek permission from An Bord Pleanála early next year to provide new and deeper berths in the Alexandra Basin and on the river Liffey towards the east of Dublin port for larger freight and cruise ships. The project would cost more than €150 million. It proposes to transfer 10.5 hectares of land on the western side of the island beside the north Bull Wall, adjacent to the Royal Dublin golf club, to the council. The land transfer, in addition to a payment of €1.2 million towards new visitor facilities on the island, will be included as a “community gain” element in its application to the board. The company previously offered to transfer its portion of the island to the council and hand over the same amount of money if a planning application was successful.

The company had applied to develop additional facilities with access to deep-water berths at the northeastern part of Dublin port, off Alexandra Road, through infilling some 21 hectares of Dublin bay. The plan was refused by An Bord Pleanála in June 2010 because of the potential detrimental environmental effects on the bay and the land and the cash handover was never made. The new plan was “entirely different in scope, design, location and function” from the previous application, the company said. “The previous application involved an additional 21hectare expansion of the north port area by infill in Dublin bay, whereas this project does not involve reclaiming land from Dublin bay and instead examines how the port’s existing footprint can be maximised.” The new plan has been welcomed by the city council and by Minister for Transport and Tourism Leo Varadkar.

“Dublin port’s gift to the people of Dublin will be welcomed by all and remembered for generations,” Mr Varadkar said. Campaigners who had vigorously opposed the company’s previous plan yesterday welcomed the new offer. “This is very different to the port company’s previous bogus offer where they were proposing the dumb expansion of the port into Dublin bay,” said Fine Gael councillor and chairman of Dublin Bay Watch Gerry Breen.

The €1.2 million will be used to pay for new tourism facilities for the island, which could include an interpretative centre and “international visitor experience”, the company said. Lying parallel to the shore off Clontarf, Bull Island is about 5km long and 800m wide and is a world-recognised bird habitat. The city council earlier this week went to tender for a feasibility study for the visitor facilities. “The city council welcomes this valuable contribution from Dublin Port Company to the conservation and enhancement of the Bull Island,” city manager Owen Keegan said. The company’s chief executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, said the new port facilities would deliver more than 3km of new deeper berths for passenger, freight and cruise ships within the port’s existing footprint. Source: Irish Times