The Department of Transport’s decision to block Dublin Airport from enlarging its car park is “putting ideology over practicality”, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
The airport says there is insufficient car parking amid increased demand for international travel after two years of COVID-related disruption.
The Government’s policy is to reduce car usage in Ireland and staff at the airport found their application for an expansion was rebuffed.
“I’m really disappointed the Department has made this decision,” Senator Barry Ward told The Hard Shoulder.
“It is putting ideology over practicality and the reality is there is a demand and there is a demand for the simple reason we are an island nation.
“People travel to and from this country by air; people leaving this country… at the moment they really do need to be able to drive to the airport - or at least to make that choice - because it is not always possible to take the bus.”
Senator Ward feels people would prefer to travel to the airport by rail if they had the choice.
The construction of MetroLink means the airport will someday be connected to Dublin city centre by trains but, in the meantime, he feels the State should facilitate travel in any way they can.
“We should be ensuring people have as many options as they can and facilitate [that]… in whatever way we can,” he said.
Cllr Liam Sinclair of An Rabharta Glas Councillor disagrees; he feels there is already “ample” parking at the airport and the State should not be helping the aviation industry.
“We’re talking about aviation here - a massive polluter - and we’re talking about making it easier to drive your car - another massive polluter -to the airport,” he said.
“Cars have to be deprioritised and tough decisions have to be made and we don’t always see eye but I congratulate Minister Ryan on this - it’s absolutely the right decision.”
Last year, aviation accounted for an estimated 2.5% of Ireland’s carbon emissions.
Main image: Dublin Airport car park.