Dublin Airport passenger cap: Eamon Ryan has previously intervened in planning row, says Ryanair’s O’Leary

Ahead of meeting with Minister, Ryanair boss highlights Eamon Ryan’s letter to planners over LNG project

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan intervened directly in a planning row over a controversial gas project, but refuses to move on Dublin Airport’s 32 million a year passenger limit, says Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary.

Mr Ryan will meet the airline boss on Thursday following heated exchanges between the two men in recent weeks over the Minister’s refusal to act on the passenger cap because it is a planning issue.

Mr O’Leary said on Wednesday that Mr Ryan intervened in a row over multinational Shannon LNG’s €650 million plan to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant at Ballylongford, Co Kerry, by writing to planning appeals body, An Bord Pleanála.

Ryanair looks forward to asking Mr Ryan “when he plans to take action to scrap Dublin’s absurd traffic cap by intervening as he did in the Shannon LNG process in 2022″, said Mr O’Leary.

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The airline referred to a Business Post report from January 2022 stating that Mr Ryan intervened directly in Shannon LNG’s planning application. The Minister wrote to An Bord Pleanála saying that as a “prescribed body considered relevant” to the application he wished to set out his views. Mr Ryan went on to say that “we do not believe that it makes sense to develop LNG gas import terminals”.

An Bord Pleanála refused Shannon LNG permission last September, a ruling the company plans to challenge in the High Court. Its owner, US-based New Fortress, recently pledged to continue with the project.

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Mr O’Leary said that, in what is his first meeting with the Minister, Ryanair would outline its plans to boost its Irish business by 50 per cent to 30 million passengers a year by 2030 and its proposals to reach net zero carbon by 2050.

“We look forward to hearing Minister Ryan’s plans to deliver growth under his National Aviation Policy when sadly, for four years, he doesn’t appear to have any growth plans,” added Mr O’Leary.

Mr Ryan told reporters on Wednesday that he would be explaining to Mr O’Leary that, as a Minister, “he cannot just wade in” to the planning system and say “this is what the outcome should be”.

Fingal County Council is considering an application from Dublin Airport operator, DAA, to have the cap lifted to 40 million.

The Minister acknowledged that Ryanair was quite advanced in its efforts to get to net zero, but cautioned that aviation generally had to play its part alongside other industries in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Ryan has said comments by Mr O’Leary directly and via his company’s social media posts in recent weeks had been “personally abusive”. Asked about the upcoming meeting, the Green Party leader said he would use it to “set the record straight on a couple of things that he may be misguided” about.

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