Dún Laoghaire could still provide a berth for “super-sized” cruise ships in spite of the introduction of a development plan which blocks their entry to the harbour.
Councillors have inserted a provision in the new county development plan to limit the size of vessels that can enter the harbour to 250m. However, the move may not be enough to topple a planning application from Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company for a new cruise berth.
In a vote on the county development plan on Wednesday, councillors agreed to “preserve the integrity, natural beauty and historical significance of the harbour by protecting this central area from any cruise berth that would allow cruise ships longer than 250m to come directly into the harbour”.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council chief executive Philomena Poole has opposed the councillors' move because of the potential economic benefits of the cruise ship trade.
In statement yesterday the council said the harbour company's planning application, made to An Bord Pleanála last year, for a cruise berth of almost 400m, had not fallen as a result of the measure.
An Bord Pleanála is legally required to take into account formally adopted changes to local area development plans even where they are introduced in the middle of a planning adjudication. However, while it must take them under consideration, it is not necessarily bound by their content.
A decision on the plan is expected in April.
Local TD Richard Boyd Barrett had criticised Ms Poole's opposition to the proposed objective. "The majority of councillors made a very prudent decision that Dún Laoghaire harbour should focus on the niche market of small cruise ships and leave the super-sized cruise liners to Dublin Port. "