Challenge to Dún Laoghaire cruise ship terminal to be heard

‘Save Our Seafront’ opposes plan on basis of impact on environment and leisure users

Save Our Seafront said an environmental impact statement failed to consider that people walk on the Dún Laoghaire pier to enjoy fresh air and the view of the Dublin mountains, and the effects on their enjoyment if a large cruise ship is obscuring the view and “emitting diesel and sulphur fumes”. File photograph: Google Street View

Save Our Seafront said an environmental impact statement failed to consider that people walk on the Dún Laoghaire pier to enjoy fresh air and the view of the Dublin mountains, and the effects on their enjoyment if a large cruise ship is obscuring the view and “emitting diesel and sulphur fumes”. File photograph: Google Street View

 

A Dublin Bay environmental group’s challenge over an €18 million terminal berth for cruise ships at Dún Laoghaire harbour will be heard later this year at the Commercial Court.

The Save Our Seafront (SOS) group opposes the planned development for reasons including that it was allegedly approved without proper identification and assessment of its impact on the environment and on recreational users of the harbour, including small boat users and on regattas.

An environmental impact statement failed to consider that people walk on the pier to enjoy fresh air and the view of the Dublin mountains, and to consider the effects on their enjoyment if a large cruise ship is obscuring the view and “emitting diesel and sulphur fumes”, the group said.

Potential impact

It also claims the potential impact on marine mammals, including otters and the Minke whale, was inadequately assessed.

Mr Justice Brian Cregan was told on Monday the sides had agreed the challenge, brought against An Bord Pleanála with Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company as a notice party, could be heard by the Commercial Court.

The judge said the case was suitable for the court and fixed it for hearing on October 10th.

The harbour company sought to have the case fast-tracked for reasons including it regards the successful development of the cruise terminal berth as “an important element” in securing the port’s financial future, and to replace the loss of revenue resulting from the cessation of ferry services.

While it had hoped to have the berth open in time for the 2018 cruise season, construction had been delayed as a result of the case, it said.

That meant bookings received from cruise lines for the 2018 season had been cancelled and potential future bookings were being put in doubt.

SOS, an environmental non-governmental organisation with about 500 members, with at address at Lower Georges Street, Dún Laoghaire, secured leave from the High Court last January for judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s November 2016 decision for development of a cruise terminal berth and associated works at the harbour.

The group, which says its main purposes are to protect the coastal and marine environment, claims the effects of the cruise berth on the local environment were not appropriately identified, described and assessed for the purpose of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and a Natura Impact Statement.

Alleged failure

It claims, as a consequence of that alleged failure, issues including matters under the Habitats Directive and associated regulations were not properly addressed.

Other claims include that issues relating to the possibility of water pollution were inadequately addressed.

An inspector with An Bord Pleanála had recommended permission be refused for reasons including a potentially severe impact on water quality in Dublin Bay generally and the Rockabill to Dalkey Island special area of conservation in particular, the group said.