Dublin Port to gift part of Bull Island back to local community
Company’s new regeneration plan for port remains subject to planning permission
Bull Island photographed from the air. Photograph: Frank Miller / THE IRISH TIMES
Dublin Port Company plans to hand back part of Bull Island to the local community as part of a plan to redevelop the city’s port facilities.
The port currently owns 10.5 hectares of land at the western end of the island, which includes the wooden bridge access to Dollymount Beach.
As part of a planning application to regenerate the Alexandra Basin area of the port, the company is proposing to transfer the land back to Dublin City Council.
The Alexandra Basin Regeneration Project, which is subject to approval from An Bord Pleanála, is part of the company’s masterplan for the future development of the port.
As part of the project, Dublin Port would also contribute €1.2 million towards improving facilities on the island and the possible construction of a new interpretative centre.
Lying parallel to the shore off Clontarf, Bull Island is about five kilometres long and 800 metres wide.
The island, which grew as the pattern of sand movements in the bay changed, is a world-recognised bird habitat, and a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve.
The company said the proposal would provide “a legacy that enriches Bull Island as a precious natural resource for Dubliners and visitors to the city”
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar welcomed the initiative, saying “Dublin Port’s gift to the people of Dublin will be welcomed by all and remembered for generations.
Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan also welcomed the proposal, describing it as a valuable contribution to the conservation and enhancement of the island.
Dublin Port’s €150 million Alexandra Basin Regeneration Project is intended to facilitate the construction of new deeper berths for passenger, freight and cruise ships in the city centre.
Dublin Port has doubled the size of its cruise business over the past decade and will handle 101 ships with over 150,000 visitors this year alone.
Dublin Port Company chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly said the project would deliver more than three kilometres of new deeper berths for passenger, freight and cruise ships, all within the port’s existing footprint.
He said the project would allow the largest cruise ships to berth right up at East Link Bridge.
Dublin TD Sean Kenny today welcomed the company’s decision to hand its part of Bull Island to Dublin City Council and “to drop its controversial plans to reclaim land in Dublin Bay”.
In 2010, An Bord Pleanála refused Dublin Port permission to implement a different expansion plan for the port.
The company had applied to develop additional facilities with access to deepwater berths at the north eastern part of Dublin Port, off Alexandra Road through infilling some 95 acres. It said throughout the application process that the port’s output is at an all-time high and nearing capacity.
The controversial plans had attracted more than 100 objections, however, including one from Dublin City Council calling them “premature”.