Fingal TD Joe O’Brien has objected to a planned expansion of Dublin Airport.
O’Brien, who serves as a member of the Green Party and is Minister of State for Community Development, was one of at least 380 people who raised concerns with Fingal County Council about Dublin Airport’s plans to expand passenger numbers to 40 million a year.
At present, Dublin Airport sees 32 million passengers a year pass through the airport, but anticipates that this number will rise substantially in the coming years.
The Dublin Airport Authority claims that the passenger cap needs to be raised in order to make Dublin Airport one of the top airports in western Europe.
However, local residents have objected to the proposed raising of the cap, and have accused the daa of not engaging with them about the plans.
In O’Brien’s written submission, he said the cap on passengers being raised and subsequent increase in flights would “significantly increase noise exposure from aircraft to residents of north county Dublin and cause a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.”
“During a climate emergency, I believe it is contrary to our national and international commitments to expand airport passenger numbers by 25%.”
Green MEP Ciarán Cuffe said the plan is “utterly divorced from reality”, saying “the people of north Dublin deserve a good night’s sleep.”
Dozens of locals wrote a standardised letter to Fingal County Council which stated there was a “lack of noise mitigation measures included in the application” and a “severe lack of public consultation” are cited as causes for concern.
The letter stated, “the scale of the proposed increase in passenger numbers is not supported by National or Local Planning policy.”
Dublin Chamber Chief Executive Mary Rose Burke told RTÉ that the plans were of “critical importance both for economic but also for social reasons.”
“When we under-invest in critical infrastructure, we are playing catch up decades later.”
She claimed that if the passenger cap was not raised, there would be 33,000 jobs lost and €4 billion lost to the Irish economy.
Before Christmas, over 250 protesters gathered outside the Fingal County Council offices saying that Dublin Airport were “ruining people’s Christmases” and that the airport was attempting to “pull a fast one” concerning new flight plans, stating that they are not sticking to the flight path that was set out in 2007 by An Bord Pleanála.
Serena Taylor, a Meath resident who attended the protest, has held previous clinical roles in both the fields of sleep and respiratory Medicine.
She told Northside People “air quality is a real issue and aviation emissions can travel easily in the wind and land at anyone’s doorstep.”
A graduate of Trinity College and a medical physician, she said “aircraft emissions contain large amounts of nano-sized particles, which are particularly prone to reach the lower airways upon inhalation.