Daa hits out at decision to refuse planning to expanded US customs facility

Daa Hits Out At Decision To Refuse Planning To Expanded Us Customs Facility
Fingal County Council last month refused planning permission to DAA for the expanded facility
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Gordon Deegan

Fingal County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission to an expansion of Dublin Airport’s US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility has been described as “totally unreasonable and unjustified”.

That is according to the planning consultants for Daa, Coakley O’Neill, in an appeal to An Bord Pleanála against the council’s “surprising” refusal to the airport operator’s application which aims to eliminate the “chronic congestion” faced by travellers to the US at the existing CBP facility at Dublin Airport.


The council last month refused planning permission to Daa for the expanded CBP after finding that the proposal would be premature pending the determination by the road authority of the detailed road network to serve the area.

The application was lodged against the background of Daa projecting that 1.7 million passengers are to use the CBP facility in 2023 which is a 13 per cent increase on the number of people who used the facility in 2022.

In the appeal, Coakley O’Neill state that the council decision to refuse planning permission in just eight weeks after the plans were lodged “was entirely unexpected and is totally unreasonable and unjustified”.

The consultants contend that the assessment by the council planning officer was ‘fundamentally flawed’ in that it was premised on being an intensification of use in terms of an increase in passenger capacity whereas the application explicitly stated that there would be no passenger increase.


The appeal states: “It is as if Fingal County Council blatantly ignored the applicant’s stated rationale for the proposed development.”

Coakley O’Neill state that the reason for planning refusal “does not relate in any way to the nature and extent of the proposed development"

Coakley O’Neill state that it was “surprising to us” that the proposal would be turned down on what are essentially traffic grounds.

The appeal states that “there is no basis for a refusal of permission on traffic grounds, given that there is no increase in operational traffic movements”.


Coakley O’Neill has told An Bord Pleanála that the proposed expansion of the CBP "will address a particular chronic congestion issue that is hampering the effective and efficient operation of a critical element of Dublin airport’s offering for airlines and passengers”.

The planning consultants that the Council planning officer “fails to recognise that the CBP facility is an existing terminal facility at Dublin airport”.

The appeal adds: “Not just any typical airport facility but one that is enshrined in national, regional and local planning policy as the unique selling point of Dublin airport in a European context”.

Coakley O’Neill state that the proposed development “is precisely focused on augmenting and reconfiguring the existing established CBP facility for the benefit of existing passengers, and to ensure that the opportunity afforded by the CBP is maximised”.


The CBP facilities at Dublin and Shannon airports allow US bound passengers to undertake all US immigration, customs and agriculture inspections at the airports prior to departure.

The CBP facilities at Dublin and Shannon airports give the airports a competitive advantage over most other airports operating services to the US as passengers who clear pre-clearance here are treated as domestic arrivals on arrival in the US, allowing them to avoid immigration queues upon arrival and pick up their bags and go.

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