Oral Hearing Sept. ’09

Thursday 3rd to Tuesday 8th Sept
The first three days of the oral hearing, were taken up with the Port Company’s oral presentation.

With the last presentation from the Port Company on Tuesday 8th, with Statement of Evidence on the Landscape and Visual Aspects, and with a final outline submission by Jarlath Fitzsimons B.L. and Paul Gardiner S. C. for the Port Company.

This summing up by legal council for the Port Company was strong, and I fear persuasive.

Dublin Port Company
The port company’s submissions addressed mainly the issues lodged by objectors to the infill. Visual impact, flooding, title to area to be infilled, capacity and compliance with EU law regarding wild birds habitats.

From mid morning yesterday, Tuesday 8 Sept., we heard presentations from Dublin City Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Bird Watch Ireland, the Irish Seal Sanctuary and Concerned Blackheath Residents Group.

Dublin City Council
The City Council showed how the infill would be contrary to the Dublin City Development Plan, and that any development would be premature prior to the drawing up of a Master Plan for the Bay and a full analysis of the recently published Dept. of Transport economic study on the future of Dublin Port.

National Parks and Wildlife Service & Bird Watch Ireland
Both the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Bird Watch Ireland questioned the methodology used in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and both stated that Appropriate Assessment was not adequate.

I believe Bird Watch Ireland lodged a damaging blow in their assertion and evidence regarding the Ports compliance with EU law and their methodology.

Parks and Wildlife highlighted the important of wetlands as a habitat and that the new SPA covers all wetlands and that this was not taken into account by the Port in their EIA.

Dublin Transportation Office
Dublin transportation Office highlighted inadequacies in the Ports assertion that they are moving towards rail freight, capacity in the North Wall area to cope with extra traffic generated by an expansion, and also lack of any proper travel plan for employees and passengers arriving at the port, in their application to expand the port. All large organisations and companies are now required to draw up a travel plan for their employees that also encourage cycling, walking and other means of public transport. Also there was no mention of the Eastern By-Pass and implications on the port area.

Blackheath Park Concerned Residents
Three representatives from the Blackheath Park Concerned residents submitted strong and passionate opinions on the infill and the need to protect Dublin Bay and the existence of scientific evidence on rising sea levels.

The Irish Seal Sanctuary
The Irish Seal Sanctuary pointed out that there was a lack of research data on seals, sea-lions, dolphin, whales and porpoises in the bay and as a consequence no evidence to show impact of infill on these species. And that any development over 4.5 hectares will impact on integrity of eco-system.


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