daa and FCC under fire again as protest is planned this evening at council offices in Swords

by Rose Barrett
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Protest from 5.30-7.30pm with motions being submitted at council meeting re daa chair’s letter to the Taoiseach

A furious FORUM (Fingal Organised Residents United Movement) and residents across Fingal and East Meath will host yet another protest this evening against the ongoing issue of night flights from Dublin Airport. The protest will be staged at Fingal County Council’s main offices in Swords from 5.30-7.30pm while the council is in session.

Residents claim their family life and communities are affected by flight paths not declared by the daa when they sought permission for the North Runway which opened in August last year.

But inside the council chamber, the daa comes under further fire as several councillors will submit motions denouncing daa chair, Basil Geoghegan, who wrote to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after Fingal County Council issued an enforcement notice to the airport authority for breaching the relevant 2007 planning permission. The daa appealed to the High Court which lifted the stay on FCC’s enforcement order in August last but residents remain incensed at the interruption of noise as flights fly regularly and low over their homes.

Mr Geoghegan wrote to the Taoiseach to appeal for his assistance in the airport dilemma which if “not resolved urgently, will have serious consequences for Dublin Airport”.

This evening, Cllr Cathal Boland will submit a motion calling for the resignation of the daa chair while Cllr Graves (SF) calls on FCC to write also to the Taoiseach and Ministers responsible for transport and local government to outline concerns regarding the content of Mr Geoghegan’s letter (dated August 14) in advance of An Bord Pleanála’s decision regarding the planning permission for the North Runway.

“The attempt by the Chair of the daa, a semi-state company, to have the Taoiseach intervene in a planning process is a blatant attempt to undermine the independence of An Bord Pleanala and that of FCC.  Asking the Taoiseach to get favours from the planning board is at best inappropriate and unethical  and this attempt to stymie the planning processes needs to be urgently addressed.”

Fifteen permanent noise measuring systems are now in community locations around Dublin Airport and fully operational, following a direction by the Aircraft Noise Competent Authority (ANCA) to the daa. A further eight noise measuring systems are due to be installed within the next 12 months by daa.. 

Dublin Airport contributes a total of €9.6bn in gross value added (GVA) to the Irish economy and supports or facilitates 116,100 jobs in the Republic of Ireland, according to a recent study of the airport’s overall economic impact. Independently produced by InterVistas, the study found that Dublin Airport is a key conduit to the equivalent of 2.3pc of the national economy.

Of the 116,100 jobs that Dublin Airport is responsible for, 19,900 are direct, with a further 11,700 indirect jobs in firms that support or supply to the airport. In addition, a further 13,300 jobs can be linked back to the airport through employees spending in the economy, while the airport helps sustain 71,200 more jobs through its facilitation of tourism, trade, investment and productivity. When it comes to jobs, 27pc of the employment generated by the airport are in Fingal, with a further 21pc in the rest of Dublin, 22pc in the rest of Leinster and 31pc across the rest of the country.

In fact, 29pc of the airpot’s total GVA is located in Fingal, with 24pc located in the rest of Dublin, 20pc in the rest of Leinster, and 28pc across Ireland. Dublin Airport is a critical piece of national infrastructure which has an economic impact felt throughout the country.

However, relations between the daa and residents in Fingal and East Meath have been strained since the opening of the North Runway.

A spokesperson for FORUM and other residents organisations stated: “The reason for our protest being held at Fingal County Council offices is to demonstrate how important it is to our communities that the council enforce the relevant planning permission that is in place. Many of us made complaints to the planning enforcement over a year ago. Several investigations have been ongoing during the past year within FCC’s planning department about these issues and warning letters have been issued to the daa.

“So far, one of the issues has been concluded with FCC which found the daa is breaching the planning condition on the North Runway that limits the number of flights to 65 per night. We urge FCC to update us on the other investigations and explain why it is taking so long to conclude. For most people it is plainly obvious that operations from the North Runway are not as per the planning permission granted, why can this council not see this?”

FORUM also called on the council to defend its enforcement order temporarily lifted by the High Court. Cllr Graves stated that should An Bord Pleanála find for the daa in its ruling in November next, Fingal residents are prepared to seek a judicial review. FORUM called on concerned residents across Dublin and Meath to join the protest tonight and support the protest outside Fingal’s council offices in Swords from 5.30-7.30pm.

See previous article: https://dublingazette.com/dublinlocalmatters/news/north-runway-daa-dublin-airport-forum-54444/

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