€18m liner berth plan sees some waves of discontent

by Aisling Kennedy

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) is set to push ahead with its plans to build a cruise berth in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, following An Bord Pleanala’s decision to grant planning permission last week.
As part of the planning permission, An Bord Pleanala denied DLHC’s request for a 400m cruise berth, but instead said that the berth would accommodate vessels with a maximum length of 250m.
The board said its decision to curtail the scale of the cruise berth was in compliance with relevant natural and environmental impact statements, as well as in accordance with the National Ports Policy.
In an unusual move, the board went against its own Planning Inspector’s recommendation to refuse planning permission for the cruise berth following her comprehensive assessment of the proposed cruise terminal.
The inspector also took the 142 submissions to the board, that set out arguments against the proposed cruise terminal, into strong consideration when making her decision.
The inspector said that the proposal before the board “failed to achieve an adequate balance between the commercial operations of a working harbour and the recreational usage which has been functioning in tandem since its inception.”
The board, however, refused to accept their Inspector’s report, and instead granted planning permission.
It is estimated that the construction of the berth will cost around €18m.
Following the news that An Bord Pleanala granted permission for the DLHC development, local people, businesses and politicians have reacted divisively.
Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett (PBP) told The Gazette that he strongly disagrees with An Bord Pleanala’s decision and said he was “particularly disappointed that they failed to take the recommendation of the Planning Inspector into consideration”.
“It will be competing against Dublin Port, and it could end up costing the people of Dun Laoghaire a lot of money. We intend to fight this tooth and nail.”
However, Cllr Carrie Smyth (Lab) welcomed An Board Pleanala’s decision, and said: “This is a great opportunity for businesses in the entire county and the future viability of Dun Laoghaire Harbour.”

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