Row over airport flights ramped up

by Padraig Conlon

A watchdog group opposed to more night flights at Dublin Airport has urged residents to help stop Fingal County Council being appointed noise regulator.

FORUM (Fingal Organised Residents United Movement) wants people to lobby their local TDs and councillors to take up the fight against the controversial move.

Transport Minister Shane Ross intends to appoint the local authority under the Aircraft Noise Regulations Bill 2018 – but FORUM warns this is “wrong” because the council receives up to one-fifth of its commercial rates from the airport.

Spokesperson David Kelly told Dublin Gazette: “We believe that the independence of the competent noise authority is paramount to ensuring that residents are treated fairly when the issue of aircraft noise and its effect on local communities is discussed under this new bill.”

FORUM was set up to represent the concerns of local community groups and residents’ associations – in particular, to press for the retention of planning conditions around the new runway restricting flights between 11pm and 7am.

Minister Ross previously indicated that the Irish Aviation Authority would be the “competent authority” for noise control and his change of direction was last week described as “dodgy” in the Dail.

Fingal TDs Clare Daly (Ind) and Brendan Ryan (Lab) outlined concerns along with Robert Troy (FF) and Imelda Munster (SF).

Deputy Daly said the Environmental Protection Agency had no record of being asked if it was interested in the role, despite currently recording noise levels at the airport.

“Approving Fingal is a pretty dodgy course of action to take,” she said.

Sinn Fein’s Louise O’Reilly later accused Fianna Fail of “betraying the people of Fingal” in supporting Fingal County Council as the airport noise regulator.

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