O’Brien warns of ‘monster’ airport plan

30th July, 2015

Please read below for my response to comments from Dublin MEP Brian Hayes on the proposed expansion of Dublin Airport. Mr. Hayes stated last week that following the IAG takeover of Aer Lingus that Dublin Airport could expand to provide a ‘third runway for Heathrow’

Mr. Hayes has barely been a year in Europe and it’s already clear that he has lost touch with his constituency and is confused about the geography of Ireland. The people of Portmarnock and St. Margaret’s in particular will not be happy to hear of plans for an extra runway at Dublin Airport. You have to live in these communities to truly understand the negative impact that the current level of airport traffic already has. Potentially doubling this would be very bad for these communities.

In addition, what Mr. Hayes is proposing would be of very limited economic value to the region. We would effectively be serving as a pit stop for transatlantic flights. I think we need to weigh up strategically what can be gained from such a move in the context of the real damage it does to communities and indeed our environment. Dublin Airport already handles in the region of 600 flights a day which is more than enough for any community to endure – do we really want a monster airport like Heathrow whose two runways handle over 1,300 flights a day?

The sell-out of Aer Lingus was not a good move for Ireland. Now we are seeing some of the potential consequences of this decision, where large multi-national corporate interests could steamroll over the interests over local communities. This government will rue the day it decided to sell off Aer Lingus.

While there is planning permission in place for this runway up to 2017 I predict some serious opposition from local communities if action is taken to turn Dublin Airport into the next Heathrow.