Dublin Port Company to give Bull Island land to Dublin City Council with additional €1.2m towards new facilities

Minister Varadkar with (left) Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O'Reilly and Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan at the launch.

Minister Varadkar with (left) Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O’Reilly and Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan at the launch.

Varadkar and Dublin City Council welcome initiative and encourage public to have their say

Wednesday, 18th September 2013. Dublin Port Company today announced a proposal to transfer its ownership of a significant and strategic portion of Bull Island to Dublin City Council to hold in perpetuity for the people of Dublin and future generations.

Dublin Port Company will also partner with Dublin City Council and Fáilte Ireland in a feasibility study for a new interpretative centre and international visitor experience at the UNESCO designated Bull Island biosphere, and will contribute towards the development of a master plan for Bull Island following the conclusion of the study. In addition, Dublin Port Company will allocate up to €1.2 million towards the cost of the study, master plan and new services or facilities identified for Bull Island.

The proposal will provide a legacy that enriches Bull Island as a precious natural resource for Dubliners and visitors to the City and has been welcomed by the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar and Dublin City Council. The proposal will be included as a community gain element to Dublin Port Company’s planning application to provide new and deeper berths in the Alexandra Basin and on the river towards the east of Dublin Port. This is the first significant project for development under the company’s Masterplan, which provides the framework for the future development of Dublin Port to 2040.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar said: “I commend Dublin Port for this initiative and for its ongoing contribution to the city both as an economic force and as the custodian of our river and bay. Dublin Port’s gift to the people of Dublin will be welcomed by all and remembered for generations.”

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company said: “Dublin Port Company has a long tradition of developing and supporting projects which benefit local communities, the City of Dublin, its citizens and visitors. The Bull Island community gain initiative is an important element of our first major Masterplan project. This project will deliver more than three kilometers of new deeper berths for passenger, freight and cruise ships, all within the Port’s existing footprint. Dublin is Ireland’s cruise capital with more than 100 cruise ships calling this year. The project will allow the largest cruise ships to berth right up at East Link Bridge. An important part of the project is the community gain proposal to transfer ownership of Dublin Port Company’s land holding in Bull Island to Dublin City Council and for Dublin Port Company to contribute funding towards new facilities that will attract local and foreign visitors to Bull Island. We are commencing a consultation exercise on this proposal and we look forward to hearing everyone’s views.”

Welcoming the proposal, Owen P Keegan, Dublin City Manager, Dublin City Council, said: “The City Council welcomes this valuable contribution from Dublin Port Company to the conservation and enhancement of the Bull Island. The Island is designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere reserve and it is a unique resource for the City. A feasibility study is being carried out to consider the potential for redeveloping the Visitor Centre on the island as a flagship project for natural heritage interpretation. This project and the on-going conservation of wildlife on the island will be much strengthened by this new partnership with Dublin Port Company.”

Under its Masterplan, Dublin Port Company committed to maximise the utilisation of the port’s existing berths and lands. The reconfiguration of Alexandra Basin will deliver on this commitment and will provide deeper berths to service larger freight, passenger and cruise ships in the years ahead.

Dublin Port Company is encouraging the local and wider Dublin communities to share their views on the ‘community gain’ proposal for Bull Island by Friday, 18th October 2013. Further details and specific questions to guide submissions can be found at: www.dublinportabr.ie

Notes to the editor:

• Dublin Port Company owns a portion of Bull Island closest to the port and adjacent to the Royal Dublin Golf Club measuring approximately 10.5 hectares, and located at the western side of the island beside the North Bull Wall.

• At present, the lands owned by Dublin Port Company are used for recreation, including gaining access to Dollymount Strand, thus providing an important link to the rest of Bull Island.

• Bull Island was originally created following port engineering works in the 1800s; the construction of the Great South Wall and North Bull Wall resulted in the creation of Bull Island as it is known today.

• Any development for the Alexandra Basin Project will be subject to a planning application and Environmental Impact Statement lodged with An Bord Pleanála under the Strategic Infrastructure Act.

• Dublin Port Company is a self-financing, private limited company wholly-owned by the State, whose business is to manage Dublin Port, Ireland’s premier port. Established as a corporate entity in 1997, Dublin Port Company is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of the port. Dublin Port Company provides world-class facilities, services, accommodation and lands in the harbour for ships, goods and passengers.

• Located in the heart of Dublin City, at the hub of the national road and rail network Dublin Port is a key strategic access point for Ireland and in particular the Dublin area. Dublin Port handles over two-thirds of containerised trade to and from Ireland and 50% of all Ireland’s imports and exports, making it a significant facilitator of Ireland’s economy. Dublin Port also handles over 1.7 million tourists through the ferry companies operating at the port and through cruise vessels calling to the port.

• The Alexandra Basin Redevelopment project will cost in excess of €150m. Dublin Port has invested over €300m in infrastructure since 1997. The company has zero debt today and has sufficient financial strength to complete the project.

• Dublin Port has doubled the size of its cruise business over the past decade and will handle 101 ships with over 150,000 visitors this year. Dublin is Ireland’s cruise capital.

• Dublin Port’s volumes are again growing strongly with freight up by 3% so far this year. The Alexandra Basin Redevelopment project will provide additional capacity to cater for the future growth of freight, passengers and cruise.