Dublin Airport car park bidders expected to rejoin hunt after sale to DAA is blocked

Rival bidder Innovest confirmed its interest and said if successful it would reopen the car park for peak holiday demand

Previous bidders are poised to re-enter the race to buy a car park near Dublin Airport the sale of which to State company DAA was blocked this week by competition regulators.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) prevented the sale of the former Quick Park complex on the Swords Road in Santry to the airport operator company saying it would leave DAA with a near monopoly on car parking there.

The decision sparked fears that holidaymakers would once again face a squeeze on car spaces at the country’s biggest airport this summer as the 6,200-space facility has been closed for almost three years.

However, several of the five underbidders who offered to buy the car park when owner developer Gerry Gannon offered it for sale in 2022 are likely to bid again for the facility should it go back on the market.


One of them, Innovest, confirmed on Friday it would re-enter the race to buy the car park should it come back on the market.

The company said it had the necessary cash and, if it were successful ahead of the summer, added that it would be in a position to reopen the car park on time to deal with peak holiday demand for spaces.

Others who bid previously are also thought to be preparing new offers following the CCPC’s ruling on Thursday.

The commission met the underbidders twice during its investigation of the proposed sale of the car park to DAA early this year and in summer 2023.

Kenny Jacobs, DAA chief executive, said the company was weighing its options, including a possible High Court appeal, after the commission published its decision. It has up to 40 days to decide on a legal challenge.

All of Dublin Airport’s 23,000 car-parking spaces were taken at different points last summer, sparking complaints from passengers and airlines.

DAA maintains it could reopen the Swords facility and its 6,200 spaces quickly should it be allowed to buy the property.

Meanwhile it is cautioning travellers to book car-parking spaces early and is encouraging those who can to choose alternatives to driving, including the various bus routes that serve the airport, to do so.

Brian McHugh, commission chairman, said an investigation of the sale to DAA found it would eliminate the State company’s only potential rival for public car parking at Dublin Airport, giving it a near monopoly.

“This would be likely to lead to higher prices for consumers because DAA would not have to compete to win car-parking customers,” he added.

The commission pointed out that the car park offered a viable business to any buyers other than the airports company.

DAA branded the decision bad news for passengers, arguing that the deal would lower prices as it would boost the supply of spaces by 6,200.

The State’s National Asset Management Agency holds a secured loan on the Swords Road car park. The agency does not comment on individual loans or clients.

Martin Kenny TD, Sinn Féin’s transport spokesman, said on Friday he was “disappointed” at the CCPC decision.

“A parking space is a very basic amenity that should be available to passengers,” he added. “Many of those I spoke to last year felt unable to rely on the limited transport options to the airport that are currently available.”

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas