€320m 3.1km runway plan gets the go-ahead

by Sylvia Pownall

Residents opposed to plans for a new €320 million runway at Dublin Airport have until Tuesday to decide whether to appeal a court ruling against them.

Earlier this week, three legal challenges against the proposed 3.1km second landing strip on 261 hectares of land north of the airport terminal were thrown out.

Separate actions brought by St Margaret’s Concerned Residents Group, a group of 22 residents and the Friends of the Environment failed in the High Court.

High Court Judge Max Barrett said “laws matter” but “mistakes happen” and while he respected the fighting spirit of the residents, he was not finding in their favour.

The St Margaret’s Group are understood to be considering their position. Friends of the Environment issued a statement welcoming in part the landmark ruling.

It said the 300-page document marked the first time the Constitution requires and will protect a right to an environment consistent with human dignity and well-being.

It stated: “Friends of the Environment is consulting with its legal team to consider an appeal in relation to the narrow points of law on which the case was dismissed, but strongly welcomed today’s ground-breaking decision of the High Court.

“This is the first new Constitutional right to be recognised in several decades. Justice Barrett … recognised that Friends of the Irish Environment had raised ‘profound constitutional issues that affect the entire population’.”

The second runway is deemed vital by the Dublin Airport Authority to turn the airport into an international hub.

The case by St Margaret’s Concerned Residents Group against the DAA claiming pre-construction works last December were in breach of planning was rejected.

The second action by 22 named residents, claiming the development was illegal and that Fingal County Council failed to take their concerns into account, also failed.
Friends of the Irish Environment said the decision to grant planning permission did not comply with the EU Habitats Directive and would result in additional greenhouse gas emissions accelerating the pace of climate change.

The cases were adjourned for a week to allow all the parties to consider the court’s decision

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