Drogheda Port Company has re-submitted a major plan to extend the port’s boundary and develop a €300 million deepwater facility at Bremore in north Dublin.
The semi-state company made an earlier bid to develop the Bremore project, but critically it failed to obtain the approval of the former transport minister Noel Dempsey in 2009.
Any approval given to Drogheda’s plan might be seen to disadvantage Dublin Port, amid questions over whether the capital’s port should be expanded to meet future needs.
Drogheda Port Company is developing Bremore in a joint venture with Castlemarket Holdings, part of the Treasury Holdings Group.
The project would require a Ministerial Order from the next transport minister to sanction the widening of its boundary.
Drogheda Port Company carried out a public consultation in September 2009 on a proposed alteration of its harbour limits to include the area around Bremore.
No planning application has been made in relation to the project, but the joint venture partners are engaged in preplanning preparations.
Both Drogheda Port Company and Dublin Port Company are included on the list of semi-state bodies, including Bord Gáis and the ESB, whose assets and liabilities were the subject of a review by economist Colm McCarthy, with the potential for some of those agencies to be sold.
The previous bid to develop Drogheda Port boundary was complicated by legal concerns that were expressed by the Attorney General, Paul Gallagher.
Gallagher warned the government that it would be ‘‘legally problematic’’ to extend Drogheda Port’s boundaries into north Dublin to permit it to develop the Bremore Port plan, given constraints that existed at the time on the powers which the minister possessed to make such a decision.
However, the Attorney General’s concerns have been surpassed by the enactment of the Harbours (Amendment) Act 2009,which extended ministerial powers to alter a company’s harbour limits.
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