IT WAS billed as David and Goliath — families against the powerful Port of Cork.
But mothers, fathers and grandparents in the sailing town of Monkstown, who led the fight against the port’s €160 million container terminal, celebrated their planning victory yesterday.
The same people who watched in disgust as An Bord Pleanála overturned its own inspector’s decision on the controversial Indaver incinerator a few years ago, said they were surprised by yesterday’s decision from the planning appeals board, but nonetheless delighted.
Some even went so far as to say it restored their confidence in the planning system.
They watched from the shore close to Monkstown Bay Sailing Club yesterday morning as dozens of youngsters sailed dinghys in the bay — a past-time which would have been threatened had the terminal project gone ahead.
Some were sailing in an area of water which would have been reclaimed as part of the port project.
Sailing course organiser Ann O’Brien said the terminal would have spelt for the end for some sailing courses.
“Small kids in small boats and big ships just don’t mix,” she said.
Raised on the water in Monkstown Bay, former sailing club commodore, Nuala O’Reilly-Teegan, said she felt the planning appeals board made the right decision.
“Sailing is part of the town’s heritage,” she said.
“We are not triumphant about it. We have to work with the Port of Cork in the future.
“But the best place for this container terminal is Dognose Bank on the Whitegate side of the harbour.It has access to road and rail links and there is 12 metres of water at low tide on that side which would allow the largest ships to berth there.”
Her father Don Teegan said logic had prevailed.
Local Green party Councillor Dominic Donnelly said the decision highlighted the need for an overall masterplan to guide development in the harbour area.
Party colleague, Senator Dan Boyle, said he was pleased the Bord accepted the argument that creating new port facilities without a direct rail link defied sense in times of high-energy costs and the need to combat global warming.
“This decision, made under the terms of the Strategic Infrastruture Act, is also welcome as it shows that even with fast-track planning legislation that public concerns can be addressed,” he said.
Cork Chamber said it was disappointed with the decision, which will have a knock-on impact on wider economic development in the region.
President Joe Gantly called for investment in key strategic routes around the city such as the Dunkettle Interchange, the N25 South Ring Route and the N28 to Ringaskiddy, to ensure the delivery of much-needed infrastructure.
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