Developing Dublin Port

Sir, – There have been three contributions to The Irish Times in recent days – David McWilliams ("A new Dublin Port City is an obvious solution for the housing crisis", Opinion & Analysis, August 7th), Harry Crosbie (Letters, August 10th), and Michael McDowell ("Future of Dublin Port and low-lying areas of the bay need to be faced up to", Opinion & Analysis, August 11th) – suggesting that Dublin Port lands be redeveloped for housing.

We have published detailed plans for the development of the port to its ultimate capacity by 2040. In his column, Michael McDowell said that these plans include an agenda to expand Dublin Port by major port infill of Dublin Bay facing Clontarf.

They don’t. This has been explicitly ruled out since 2018.

Our plans are based on the simple idea that it is better to maximise the use of the brownfield lands of Dublin Port for cargo handling before embarking on a megaproject to develop a new greenfield port on the east coast.


Looking beyond 2040, we have published the Dublin Port Post 2040 Dialogue looking in detail at the issues raised recently in The Irish Times and inviting detailed responses for us to publish alongside our own analysis.

We have received no response from any of the three contributors and I am left with the impression that some people are all for debate so long as no one disagrees with them.

To be clear on matters of governance, we are under no illusions in Dublin Port Company as to who owns the company. Our approach to the development of the port is entirely in line with Government policy and is fully consistent with the national planning hierarchy.

Our interest in the development of Dublin Port has always been the national interest and nothing else. This has extended to our suggesting to Government that the National Development Plan should provide funding for between €160 million and €260 million to provide additional port capacity in Rosslare, Waterford and Cork in the period from 2025 to 2030, with the coming five years being used to design and get planning permissions for projects in these ports.

On the issue of housing, none of the three recent contributions has addressed the cost to build a new port and to get Dublin Port’s lands to the point where developers could move in. We have estimated this cost at €8.3 billion (at 2020 prices). In addition to cost, there are the timescales.

As I read and reread David McWilliams’s column, I was left wondering whose interests it served; certainly not those of the home-seekers of 2021 who might be able to buy homes in 2060 in what was Dublin Port – just as they reach retirement age.

In the meantime, and until and if Government were to decide otherwise, we will continue our work to develop and operate Dublin Port as mandated and will do this based on the principles of proper planning and sustainable development.

Finally, if Michael McDowell or David McWilliams or anyone else with an interest would like to visit the port and discuss and debate our plans with us, there is an open invitation. – Yours, etc,


Dublin Port Company,

Dublin 1.