Up to 250 people attended a public meeting last week to discuss the ongoing impact of flight paths from the new north runway at Dublin Airport. Called by Cllr Cathal Boland, Deputy Mayor of Fingal, the meeting was attended by Deputies Louise O’Reilly (SF), Paul Donnelly (SF) and Duncan Smith (Lab), seven councillors from Fingal and one from Dublin 15.
Fingal County Council granted permission last year for the new north runway to become operational. Residents of St Margaret’s then appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála so the original 2007 planning permission granted to Dublin Airport remains the relevant legal permission.
Residents and communities have been vociferous in their opposition to the new flight paths since August last, stating the noise pollution has impacted horrendously on their family life, on schools – and in some cases, is ‘rattling’ houses as never experienced before.
“I was very fortunate to have the support of a large section of the community on the night, the crowd exceeded our expectations,” said Cllr Boland. “We had some impressive speakers including Dr Niamh Maher who gave a detailed analysis on the negative impact of the flight noise on residents’ well-being and health. The impact on health cannot be underestimated.”
“We further had a presentation that showed the difference between the pre-flight paths prior to the opening of the north runway compared with recent months and the proposed Strategic Instrument Departures (SIDs) going forward.
“The pre, current and proposed SIDs analysis going forward made shocking fodder for the attendance. The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) have issued new flight paths to become operational on February 23.
“The presentation claimed the impact of new SIDS would be marginal and some communities would be even more adversely impacted than they currently are!” stated Cllr Boland who called on the DAA to give a greater breakdown of how they believe the SIDS will impact on local communities which it says it is currently modelling.
Cllr Ann Graves (SF) and Deputy Louise O’Reilly (SF) met with the IAA and DAA on December 19 last. “The IAA made it clear that they are not responsible for obtaining planning for airport development, this is the sole responsibility of the DAA.
“They advised that the operating procedures in relation to flight paths are under review and this was confirmed at a subsequent meeting with the DAA. The DAA have since confirmed that there will be no departures off the North Runway before 9am until a review is completed and into Spring of 2023.
“They committed to a review. Now they advise that they are introducing SIDS which will become operational on February 23 next. I don’t believe the variation will make a huge amount of difference nor will it alleviate the horrendous noise issues for residents living close to Dublin Airport.”
Cllr Graves said the DAA “was a law onto itself… had deviated from the original planning permsission… and are not good neighbours!”
“Furthermore, the DAA were invited but chose not to attend. But we saw a lot of new faces at last week’s gathering – from Dublin 15 and Ashbourne; it’s not just residents from the Ward and St Margarets who are affected, we had people from the wider Swords area, Dunsallagh, Rolestown, Kilesaghan, Oldtown and Ballyboughal. This issue is NOT going away!” she said.
“Take Ridgewood which was built parallel to the new runway, not affected by the flight noise but residents are affected by all the planes lining up and down the runway for take off – the noise and fumes – you can smell it in the air, there are dangerous particles in those fumes.
“Given there were government party representatives at that meeting, I called on them to go back and impress upon government figures that this issue must be sorted and soon!”
Since then, FORUM a group formed years ago, has recently launched a fundraiser to fight the issue in court. Donations welcome at https://www.idonate.ie/crowdfunder/NoNightFlights To date, the fundraiser has raised in excess of €20,000