Independent review of Dublin port expansion needed, say Sandymount residents

Stacks of ‘rusty containers’ would have ‘dreadful impact’ on area and marine biosphere, warn Dublin 4 locals

The proposed expansion of Dublin Docks on the Poolbeg peninsula will have a “dreadful impact on the Sandymount area and on the adjoining marine biosphere”, the group representing local residents has claimed.

The Sandymount and Merrion Residents’ Association (Samra) described the plan by the Dublin Port Company as “wrong on so many levels”.

The project, entitled 3FM, would result in the construction of Ireland’s largest container terminal with a capacity to handle more than 350,000 containers each year, as well construction of a new bridge over the river Liffey to carry freight traffic.

At its annual general meeting last night, Samra chairman David Turner called on Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to commission an independent review by international experts to determine the most up-to-date options for the development of Dublin Port.


Last Thursday, Mr Ryan wrote to the port company outlining “significant concerns” with the project. Labour leader Ivana Bacik and Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan, both of whom represent the Dublin Bay South constituency, attended the meeting as did a number of councillors based in the area.

Mr Turner told the packed meeting, held at the Sandymount Hotel, that the development would create an “irretrievable industrial corridor on the peninsula”.

He said Dublin Port wanted to significantly expand its footprint and to build Ireland’s largest container storage facility beside Sandymount’s Unesco-protected beach.

“Given the scale of the opposition to the plan, its 3FM plan is at a dead end. Dublin Port needs to go back to the drawing board and consider all options to minimise its impact and maximise the benefits of its unique position for the whole community and not just for the convenience of businesses that use the port,” he said.

The association’s planning officer, Niall McElroy, gave a detailed presentation on the dock expansion plan.

He said Samra’s main concern was the “large container terminal” on the south side of the port facing Sandymount. He said containers would be stacked three units high, across 5.9 hectares (or 15 acres). The storage area would have visual and noise effects.

“There will be big noise issues relating to the handling [of] containers. This will be egregious due to the intermittent nature and low frequency. It will create a very industrial impact on the south side of the peninsula ... This is going to be rusty containers stacked one on top of the other.”

He said the development would prevent the expansion of the nature reserve and prevent opportunities for other uses of the land. He said strategic plans for the area drawn up by the local authority envisaged a mixed use with a local green connection.

“This plan shows only one use for the area,” he said.

He also criticised the small area of land that has been allotted to what has been described as “community gain”, which includes 2.8 hectares for 5G pitches and dog run. A total of 5.5km of active cycle and pedestrian paths will be provided throughout the Poolbeg peninsula, according to the blueprint.

In a statement, the Dublin Port Company repeated its belief that the 3FM project is consistent with the Dublin Port Masterplan 2040.

“Dublin Port is fully committed to the sustainable development of its assets in line with its statutory responsibilities and the national priorities and we will take all views and feedback into account as part of this process. The masterplan, including the 3FM project, is fully aligned with EU policy, national policy, regional policy and local policy,” it stated.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times