I accept the logic of the comments Deputy O’Brien has just made on the insulation scheme and the role of DAA, but they still do not sufficiently address the big problem with the Bill, which, even at this late stage, we should repeat. I refer to the fact that the regulator, the competent authority, is hopelessly conflicted. I am reading comments sent in to us by constituents in Dublin Fingal and Dublin Bay North. The reality is that we have a local authority deriving at least a quarter of its revenue, its rates, from the airport zone, yet we are still creating a situation in which the independence we need in an independent regulator is not there.
I strongly support amendment No. 86. The International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, has a famous guidance on the balanced approach, the ICAO document 9829. Its four principles are: reduction of noise at source; land use planning and management; noise abatement operational procedures; and operating restrictions on aircraft. Over the past 40 years, many of the organisation’s efforts have gone towards addressing airport noise. It has been addressing noise at source in the performance of the different aeroplane models, the processes for take-off, landing and so forth. For example, the ICAO states, “The first generation of jet-powered aeroplanes was not covered by Annex 16 and these are consequently referred to as non-noise certificated (NNC) aeroplanes (e.g. Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8).” It is clear that, even in the balanced approach, there is a prescription for how operators such as the Dublin Airport Authority, DAA, and companies can operate their businesses.
This week is always tinged with sadness as we remember the tragic 48 young lives lost in the Stardust Fire on St. Valentine’s Night 1981. This year marked 38 years since the devastating fire and relatives and victims have still to receive justice and closure. The Stardust Relatives’ and Victims’ Committee held a short protest outside Leinster House on Thursday, the 14th and also held an evening vigil at the Stardust site. Charlie Bird unveiled a very impressive plaque with the names of the 48 victims of that fateful night.
On Monday I held my two information clinics in Darndale and Donnycarney. For a large part of Tuesday afternoon, I attended the Seanad Reform Implementation Group meeting and debated possible amendments to the Report and the Bill. I have since submitted my own annex and minority report to the group. I asked for the 60 members of Seanad Éireann to be elected by all the people on the same franchise and similar constituencies to Dáil Éireann. I also attended the Budgetary Oversight Committee which was discussing the failure to make adequate provision for the Health Budget.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak on the Bill. I have always deeply appreciated the role of Dublin Airport as the key economic driver of Dublin’s northside, in particular as I was a founder and director of Coolock Development Council, which has community centres, business centres and jobs training programmes to help people leave unemployment. We know that up to 60,000 jobs in the wider airport zone, including Dublin Bay North, in particular jobs in logistics, are dependent on the successful development of the airport. However, as the number of passengers has moved up to 30 million per annum and beyond, and the second runway is under construction, constituents in Dublin Bay North, in particular those on the north fringe, remain profoundly anxious that the airport’s role is developed in a sustainable way. This especially concerns aircraft noise and associated flight paths, which, of course, are the core subject of the Bill.
Deputy Tommy Broughan today welcomes news that Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, has called for an independent review into noise management and the North Runway project at Dublin Airport. Following objections from concerned local residents and representations from local TDs and Councillors, Minister Ross announced his intentions to set up the independent review. He also appointed the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) as the Competent Authority in noise management as part of the new EU regulation 598/2014.
In a Topical Issues Debate in Dáil Éireann on the proposed new North Runway at Dublin Airport, Deputy Broughan called on the DAA not to be a noisy neighbour and to restrict night flights from the airport. Night flights are defined by the European Union as when an aircraft uses an airport between the hours of 11pm and 7am. There are hundreds of European airports such as Heathrow, Zurich and Frankfurt that have restrictions on night flights. Heathrow restricts flights between 11.30pm and 4.30am and furthermore limits the number of flights between 4.30am and 6am to 16 flights per night. Planning conditions on the new North Runway restrict night flights but the DAA are trying to have these conditions lifted.
I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute briefly to this discussion and to reiterate my stance from January that the sale of the 25.1% Government stake in Aer Lingus is clearly not in Ireland’s national interest. The sale poses an immediate threat to air connectivity from Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Knock airports, despite reassurances that vital slots at Heathrow Airport will remain in place for seven years. It also threatens the future of 3,900 Aer Lingus workers, especially the 2,100 back office and ground staff, and abandons the 15,000 IASS pensioners who gave their lifetime’s work to our national airline and State airports.
In Dáil Éireann today Deputy Tommy Broughan has strongly criticized the Government’s plans to sell the 25.1% share in Aer Lingus to IAG. He re-iterated his concern that the sale poses an immediate threat to air connectivity from Dublin and Ireland’s regional airports despite reassurances that vital slots at Heathrow Airport will remain in place for 7 years. It also threatens the future of 3,900 Aer Lingus workers (especially the 2,100 back office and ground staff) and abandons the thousands of IASS (Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme) pensioners who gave lifetimes of work to our national airline and state airports.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has today strongly criticised the Government for considering the sale of the 25.1% Irish government stake in Aer Lingus. Broughan says “The moves to sell the Irish government shareholding in Aer Lingus to I.A.G are clearly not in Ireland’s national interest. The sale poses an immediate threat to air connectivity from Ireland’s regional airports and puts a huge question mark over the vital Aer Lingus slots at Heathrow Airport. It also threatens the future of 4,000 Aer Lingus workers and the important Aer Lingus strategic management function at Dublin Airport”.