Jumbo cruise plans would be 'disastrous' to our area, say Dun Laoghaire locals
PLANS to build a jumbo cruise facility in Dun Laoghaire could be "disastrous" for the seaside town, according to some concerned locals.
Retail businesses and small companies based there said that they are not happy with the proposed €15m development, which would include dredging of the harbour.
Singer Christy Moore, who lives in nearby Monkstown, joined some 100 people at a public meeting to discuss the controversial plan to develop the harbour.
Fergal McLoughlin of the Save Our Seafront campaign said that there were many questions that needed to be answered before the cruise berth facility was constructed.
"The plans could be disastrous for the town, and presumably for businesses," Mr McLoughlin said.
The Dun Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group (made up of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company; Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council; and the Dun Laoghaire BID Company) have proposed the development.
After a period of public consultation, a planning application is being drawn up to submit to An Bord Pleanala.
The plans include significant dredging and the construction of a 390-meter cruise berth will be built that can accommodate so-called jumbo cruise liners.
Businesses in the town are unconvinced that the move will bring any extra business into the area and plan to object to the development.
They believe that tourists will visit Dublin city and surrounding tourists spots instead of spending time, and money, in the town.
Dublin Port is also considering developing a cruise facility, and locals fear that if that happens Dun Laoghaire won't be able to compete.
It was suggested at the meeting that people should lodge individual submissions on the proposal, but this will cost €50 per person.
The stakeholders are submitting the plan as a 'strategic development', which means that it is considered an infrastructure that is beneficial to the State.
This means that it is more expensive to lodge a submission, but the planning authority may convene oral hearings on the plans if necessary.
Save our Seafront last night hosted a separate meeting to discuss their campaign to oppose the idea.
Separately, yachting clubs in the area have also expressed reservations.
Justin McKenna, the incoming commodore in the Royal St George Yacht Club, recently stepped down from the board of the Harbour Company to avoid a conflict of interest over the proposals.
"If you dissect the harbour into a cruise berth and have large liners coming in and out of the harbour it becomes too dangerous to sail," he told the Herald.
Meanwhile, legislation is currently progressing in the Oireachtas which would see the Harbour Company's role subsumed by the council.
However, public representatives are reluctant to see any debt that the board may have falling on the taxpayer.
Separately, councillors at a meeting of the Dun Laoghaire Area Committee requested a detailed report on the plans to be delivered at this month's county council meeting.
If they are not furnished with the report in time, they have agreed to convene a special council meeting on the matter of the cruise berth plans.