Victory hailed as €18m cruise berth postponed

by Aisling Kennedy
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PLANS to move forward with a cruise berth in Dun Laoghaire harbour have been postponed indefinitely following the decision by An Bord Pleanala not to defend a judicial review of the decision of the Bord to grant planning permission.
Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) had initially been granted planning permission in November last year to build an €18m cruise berth, which would allow cruise liners up to 250m long to dock in the harbour.
However, following a campaign by environmental group Save Our Seafront to challenge the planning board’s decision, An Bord Pleanala agreed last week that certain technical requirements had not been met.
The chair of Save Our Seafront, Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett (PBP), said that the case was based on the fact that the environmental effects of the proposed development had not been assessed.
He said: “In particular, the case argued that DLHC and the Bord had failed to take into account the environmental impacts of the proposed development on protected species … and recreational users, including those who use the pier for walking.
“Save Our Seafront also argued that the proposed development would lead to the dumping of toxic sludge in Dublin Bay and neighbouring special areas of conservation, and that the cruise ships would discharge waste directly into the bay.”
An Bord Pleanala is now requesting additional information to be supplied by DLHC and is recommending that the planning application is sent back to the Bord for the additional information to be assessed.
Gerry Dunne, DLHC’s chief executive, spoke out after the judgement and said that while the nature of the issues have yet to be outlined in detail, they are believed to be “technical and not substantive”.
He added that protecting the sensitive environmental and historical significance of the harbour and its environs remain a priority for DLHC.
“The proposed 250 metre berth will, it is anticipated, attract circa 50 cruise calls a year from May to September – an average of two a week. The money generated from these visitors will amount to €10m to the local economy annually.”
In response, Deputy Boyd Barrett remained firm on the issue and said: “This is a crucial victory for the future of Dublin Bay and Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
“Hopefully this victory will finally convince DLHC about the unsuitability of bringing enormous cruise ships into the harbour, or promoting inappropriate developments that would destroy it as a public amenity and a precious piece of our marine heritage.”
He added: “We hope that common sense will prevail and that the harbour can be developed for the benefit of all users in sympathy with the natural beauty of Dublin Bay and Dun Laoghaire harbour.”
The case will return to the Commercial Court after Easter for the court to make final orders.

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