AN ORAL hearing on all aspects of the Cruise Berth Project in Dun Laoghaire was requested by local councillors at this week’s Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council meeting.
It emerged this week that An Bord Pleanala received 150 submissions about the Cruise Berth Project following the deadline for submissions three weeks ago.
The proposed project entails a 435m pier, with an underpass to cater for the passage of club launches; dredging of an access channel from outside the harbour to St Michael’s Pier, including a 500m diameter turning circle outside the Harbour mouth; a shared-use public and pedestrian zone adjacent to the existing marina and connecting to the marina eastern breakwater to Harbour Road; a new high-quality footpath along Harbour Road; an ancillary site and landscape works.
A motion brought forward by Cllr Victor Boyhan (Ind), which stated that the council should request An Bord Pleanala to conduct an oral hearing was passed, with 23 councillors in favour of the oral hearing and 13 councillors against it.
Cllr Boyhan said he was “disappointed at the planning authority report drawn up by the council executive” and was therefore happy with the motion being passed to seek an oral hearing with An Bord Pleanala’s planning inspector prior to a decision being made on the cruise berth.
He added: “I think it is significant that 150 people came together, and paid €50 per submission, to air their views on the proposed cruise berth plans.”
Cllr Ossian Smyth (GP) also spoke about the planning authority report drawn up by the council executive and said that he was disappointed that the environment report did not include the effects the cruise berth may have on issues such as the landscape, the effects on air pollution, biodiversity and water pollution.
He said: “There will be diesel engines [that are] the equivalent of 5,000 cars going through the water, along with a lot of air pollution and noise pollution. I’m disappointed that the environment report did not include that.”
Cllr Shane O’Brien (SF) said that he thought the ecological impact on Dun Laoghaire Harbour should be further taken into account.
He said: “The issue of dredging the harbour of silt to allow the cruise boats access to the harbour should be addressed. There is a lot of concern about the dredging and where the silt will be dumped off the coast. There is also a lot of concern about marine diversity within the bay.
“The planning application is premature, both financially and environmentally. I believe that the planning application, if given the go-ahead, would disrupt the harbour.”
Cllr Melisa Halpin (PBPA) also put forward a motion at the council meeting to oppose the cruise berth being built, but the motion was defeated by one vote.
Cllr Halpin said: “There was a vote on whether or not the councillors were for or against the cruise ship berth, and 18 voted for the berth and 17 voted against. It was incredibly disappointing to lose the vote by one vote.”