Foynes Port ‘shocked’ as property earmarked for housing in State report

Shannon Foynes Port Company said inclusion of its lands had caused ‘serious concern and uncertainty’

A port company has said it has “grave concerns” and was “quite frankly shocked” that property belonging to it had been included in a report on State lands earmarked for affordable housing.

The Shannon Foynes Port Company said inclusion of its lands had caused “serious concern and uncertainty” among customers with a potentially damaging effect for 800 jobs supported by its operations.

In correspondence with the Land Development Agency (LDA), the port company said it was “disappointed” that such a report could be published “without any meaningful consultation”.

The LDA report, which was published earlier this year, identified 83 sites with the potential to deliver 67,000 new affordable homes over the medium to long term.


However, its publication was not met with universal welcome with multiple public bodies querying how land had ended up being included.

The HSE questioned why 10 of its sites at locations including Dublin, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford were listed as having development potential.

In a letter to the LDA, the HSE said it had not been afforded an opportunity for engagement and discussion on multiple properties before the report’s publication.

The correspondence said: “As a result, the report’s proposals for these sites do not appropriately reflect their utilisation by the HSE and its funded agencies or our future plans to develop these sites”.

The HSE said in future there should be a “stronger process of engagement” and also urged the LDA to look at the potential for developing residential accommodation for key workers, especially in healthcare.

An Post also wrote to the LDA about the inclusion of lands at Swords Business Park in Dublin.

The postal operator said the land was an operating delivery service unit and was considered an “integral part of the operational model” for the region.

ESB said it had been engaging with the LDA about multiple sites but was not aware of any interest in other lands.

Certain property listed in the report was an “integral and critical part” of operations and goals of becoming net zero by 2040, the ESB said.

However, the most vigorous objection came from the Shannon Foynes Port Company.

A letter from the company, which was released under the Freedom of Information Act, said: “I am instructed by our board to write to you to outline our grave concerns regarding the LDA report and to convey our disapproval regarding the report’s objective concerning our entire property at Limerick Docks.

“Furthermore, we are also disappointed, and, quite frankly, shocked that such a report would be published without any meaningful consultation with us, the property owner.”

In response to the port company, LDA chief executive John Coleman said not all sites in the report would be developed for housing and that preparing the report had been a statutory obligation for his agency.

Mr Coleman said the report categorised the port lands as a “class three site” meaning there were significant issues around infrastructure, flooding, existing operational uses and leases.

Asked about the records, a spokesman for the LDA said the agency welcomed and had received feedback on the report, including updated or clarified information on a small number of sites.

“The report is a statement of fact which identifies land that could potentially be used for housing in the short, medium and longer term. It serves as a strategic tool to assess the potential of State-owned lands for housing delivery into the future,” the spokesman said.

“The LDA has already been consulting with many of the public bodies involved, separate to the production of the report, to explore the potential for lands to be released for housing delivery.”