Varadkar urges DAA to build third runway without delay

Micheál Martin’s criticism of Shane Ross rejected by Taoiseach

Minister for Transport Shane Ross: “least decisive in his own portfolio”, claims Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Dublin Airport Authority should get on with building the third runway because the legislation to allow for it "will be done and dusted" long before it is built, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar deflected criticism of Minister for Transport Shane Ross by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who claimed Mr Ross had delayed and been indecisive on building the runway which had been in the pipeline for a long time.

During leaders’ questions in the Dáil, Mr Martin said Mr Ross “has a track record with the Aviation Authority” and that “he’s an expert on judges, on Garda stations and on the portfolio of other Ministers and least decisive in his own portfolio”.

The Taoiseach did not respond to the criticisms of his Cabinet colleague but said the decision on the runway had been delayed because they had to get legal advice on whether it was possible to use secondary legislation to allow the runway to be built or if they would have to create specific legislation.


Noise regulation

The Taoiseach said the Attorney General had advised that primary legislation was necessary. The runway was also delayed by discussions on who would have responsibility for noise regulation and it was ultimately decided that it would be the responsibility of Fingal County Council.

Mr Varadkar said that the Government “is 100 per cent” behind the building of a third runway at Dublin Airport. He said it was part of Project Ireland 2040 and he believed the airport should go ahead with building it.

He said the airport had 30 million passenger trips every year. It received no taxpayers’ money , “turns a profit and provides a substantial dividend to the taxpayer”.

Mr Martin questioned whether Mr Ross had even met Fingal County Council, which he said would need substantial funding and support for its new regulatory role.Mr Varadkar hit out at Fianna Fáil’s past and “the enormous damage” he said it had done to Ireland in government and asked if the party would “atone for” its sins by supporting the fast-tracking of the legislation to allow the third runway be built.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times