17th December

Cruise berth judicial review: SOS welcomes outcome but seeks clarification

An Bórd Pleanála has indicated it does not wish to contest the judicial review initiated by the environmental group, Save Our Seafront, in respect of the proposed cruise berth in Dún Laoghaire Harbour which lies 12km south of Dublin City.

DLHC Judicial Review Star Legend

Star Legend (135m) will visit Dún Lagoghaire on June 26

It has further stated by way of explanation that 'certain unspecified information' potentially relevant to the assessment carried out prior to the grant of permission, 'had not been furnished by the Harbour Company or identified by any other prescribed body or third party during the course of the application process'.

The case returns to the Commercial Court on 24 April where Save Our Seafront will ask An Bórd Pleanála to identify the basis upon which the case is being conceded, 'and to commit to affording Save Our Seafront the opportunity to make submissions on the precise issue of concern' along with any new information submitted by the Harbour Company within a reasonable timescale to be agreed between the parties.

Save Our Seafront's case before the Commercial Court was that contrary to the EU Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, the environmental effects of the proposed development had not been assessed. In particular, the case argued that Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company and An Bórd Pleanála had failed to take into account the environmental impacts of the proposed development on protected species such as otters, whales, porpoises, and birds and recreational users (including those who use the pier for walking).

Save Our Seafront also argued that the proposed development would lead to the dumping of toxic sludge in Dublin Bay and neighbouring Special Areas of Conservation and that the cruise ships would discharge waste directly into the Bay.

Richard Boyd Barrett, chair of Save Our Seafront, said the outcome was a "crucial victory" for the future of Dublin Bay and Dun Laoghaire Harbour and all who enjoy the amenities.

"Hopefully this will finally convince the Harbour Company about the unsuitability of bringing enormous cruise ships into the harbour or promoting inappropriate developments that would destroy it as a public amenity and a precious piece of our marine heritage.

"We hope that common sense will prevail and that the harbour can be developed for the benefit of all users in sympathy with, rather than destruction of, the natural beauty of Dublin Bay and Dún Laoghaire harbour."

DLHC chief executive Gerry Dunne said that while the nature of the issues have yet to be outlined in detail "they are believed to be technical and not substantive”.

Mr Dunne added that protecting the sensitive environmental and historical significance of the harbour and its environs remained a "priority" for the company.

According to DLHC, it is anticipates the proposed 250 metre berth will attract c. 50 cruise-calls a year, on average two per week from May to September. The income generated from visitors is projected at €10m per annum to the local economy.

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