Dublin Port firm abandons plan to reclaim Dublin Bay land

Masterplan review shows the company is no longer considering infilling 21 hectares

Dublin Port Company has abandoned plans to reclaim 21 hectares (52 acres) of Dublin Bay, almost seven years after it was refused planning permission for the scheme.

The company had sought to develop additional facilities with access to deep-water berths at the northeastern part of Dublin port, through infilling 21 hectares of the bay, in a plan first put forward in 1979.

One of the company's most controversial proposals, it was refused permission by An Bord Pleanála in 2010 because of the potential detrimental environmental effects on the bay.

In 2012 the company published a masterplan for the future development of the port which said that a return to the infill expansion project would be required to provide the capacity necessary for growth to 2040.


However, in a review of the 2012-2040 Masterplan, to be made available for public consultation from Tuesday, the company has said it does not plan to revisit the land reclamation project, despite having higher than expected growth rates.

Future growth

Cargo volumes in the port increased by 6.3 per cent last year and were up by 25 per cent over the last four years.

In 2012, it had predicted average growth rates of 2.5 per cent annually to 2040, it now believes this rate will be 3.3 per cent.

However, the company said it can accommodate future growth by better using its 265 hectares of existing lands, including its full land holding on the Poolbeg peninsula, and through the development of a 44 hectare site recently acquired at Dublin Airport.

“Dublin Port Company no longer believes that the capacity of the previously mooted 21 hectares infill Dublin Gateway project is needed to cater for the volumes projected up to 2040,” it said.

Port Company lands on the Poolbeg peninsula had been zoned for redevelopment and amenity uses by Dublin City Council, but were changed back last year to port use in the recently-adopted city development plan.

The council’s Poolbeg Strategic Development Zone planning scheme, which is also currently undergoing a public consultation process, reaffirms that the port land on the peninsula will be retained for port uses.

An earlier draft of the Poolbeg scheme had suggested there could be potential to use some port lands for a film studio, however this reference was removed from the final draft published last week.

A new road linking the north and south port areas, proposed under the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035, would also open up the possibility of significant additional port capacity on the Poolbeg peninsula, the company said.

Dublin airport

Its acquisition of 44 hectares of land near Dublin airport will allow it to move port-related but “non-core activities” out of the port area, it said, and it would be seeking planning permission to begin development of this land in the coming months.

The development on a new “unified ferry terminal” on 38 hectares on the northside, which would amalgamate the three separate terminals used by ferry companies, would free up more lands through the elimination of unnecessary internal roadways and buildings.

The new terminal would incorporate facilities for State bodies including immigration, customs, security and other border inspection functions.

Port company chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly said Brexit would add an “additional dimension” to this facility. “The design of the terminal may have to accommodate border controls we otherwise wouldn’t have had to make provision for.”

A new 4km cycle and pedestrian path is proposed to link the new ferry terminal to the Tolka estuary.

The plan is available at dublinport.ie/masterplan and submissions can be made until March 7th.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times