Third passenger terminal at Dublin Airport will be built eventually, says Ulick McEvaddy

McEvaddy and brother in addition to other landowners have submitted plan to Fingal council for terminal that could handle 30m passengers

Aviation entrepreneur Ulick McEvaddy has predicted that his €2.2 billion concept plan to develop a third passenger terminal at Dublin Airport on neighbouring lands that he and others own will be built but possibly not in his lifetime.

Speaking to Inside Business, a podcast from The Irish Times, Mr McEvaddy said: “It will happen but whether it happens in my lifetime or under my stewardship is another matter but it has to happen for Ireland. It’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s a question of ‘when’.

“We’ll have partners that will take up the challenge. This isn’t about my longevity. I’m talking about the future of Ireland Inc and doing the proper thing.”

Mr McEvaddy and adjoining landowners recently submitted a concept plan to Fingal County Council to develop the lands for a third passenger terminal and a cargo facility.

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They are due to meet the council in mid-May to discuss their plan, after which they hope to proceed to a full planning application for a third terminal and other facilities, he said.

Mr McEvaddy said the terminal could handle 30 million passengers. Separately, State-owned DAA has submitted a plan to Fingal to increase the passenger cap to 40 million, in addition to adding other facilities at the airport.

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Mr McEvaddy and his brother Des bought land beside Dublin Airport in 1996 and hold 126 acres between them. The holding rises to 262 acres when the land of two neighbours is included. “They want to pitch their tent with us and we’re trying to deliver a mega-hub there using their land and ours.”

The group put the lands up for sale in May 2023, with State-owned airport operator DAA reported to have offered between €70 million and €80 million to acquire the site. Mr McEvaddy said the reports were in the “ballpark” of what DAA offered but the valuation was “way off”.

He conceded that interest from other parties was conditional on access to the runway or planning permission for a new terminal being secured. “That’s why we’re going for planning now,” he said.

What price from DAA would secure the land?

“I’m not going to negotiate on air but essentially we said to them, ‘arbitrate on the price. We’re not going to screw you on the price if you want the land.’ I’m extremely puzzled by it because it was an offer that I never thought I’d make to them after 30 years of fighting with them to build a terminal.

“But I said, ‘okay we’re going to throw in the towel here and do it’ and then they wouldn’t agree to arbitrate the price. Don’t ask me why. If you don’t build the capacity then the economy stagnates. They know they need the lands but they’re happy to play silly buggers at the expense of the Irish people.”

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