Sinn Féin votes against ‘hugely flawed’ Airport Noise Regulator Bill – Munster
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has said that the Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill 2018, which passed through report and final stages in the Dáil yesterday evening, is a “hugely flawed” piece of legislation, and has criticised Minister for Transport Shane Ross for pushing it through the Dáil, despite enormous opposition from local residents and opposition TDs.
Deputy Munster also welcomed the passing of two of her amendments, which ensure that the health and well-being of local residents are central to decision-making on noise at Dublin airport.
Deputy Munster said:
“I was happy that my amendments were accepted. These amendments will ensure that the health of local residents is taken into account by Fingal County Council in its role as noise regulator. It also means that the council will now have to report the effects of its regulation on people living locally. This gives a voice to the people living near the airport.
“The wider issue however is that the Minister is not listening to local people. Their concerns have been completely ignored, and it was for this reason that Sinn Féin voted against this bill. However, due to the support of Fianna Fáil the bill passed last night.
“This bill is hugely flawed, in that it appoints the local authority, which receives some of its income from the airport, to regulate noise at the airport. There is a clear conflict of interest here. I had submitted amendments calling for the Commission on Aviation Regulation, an independent body, to perform this role. These amendments were not supported by government parties or Fianna Fáil and were therefore unsuccessful.
“Fingal remains an inappropriate choice for regulator. The decision was taken because the Minister had assumed that the Irish Aviation Authority would perform this function, however they were deemed not to be independent. I would argue that the same goes for Fingal County Council. The Minister then had to choose a regulator in a panic, as we had missed EU deadlines to appoint a regulator. This legislation was rushed and badly thought-out as a result.
“We need to move towards better governance. Having entities regulate organisations that pay their wages is very poor practice, and it is ordinary people who will pay the price for the Minister’s incompetence.”