Environment Minister John Gormley was interrupted during his speech to the Green Infrastructure conference this morning in Malahide. The environmental campaign group Plane Mad disrupted the conference to express their opposition to another runway at Dublin Airport. The group oppose the runway on the grounds that it will double the aircraft emissions at the airport. These emissions play a dangerous part in causing climate change. Two activists dressed as cartoon criminals mimed building a runway around the podium that Gormley was speaking from. Aircraft noise was simultaneously played from the back of the room. One of the "criminals" moved among the audience passing out information about the proposed new runway form his bag of "swag". The minister was also presented with a letter by the group which he accepted.
The activists were dressed as criminals to represent the crime that it would be if Fingal County Council and the Dublin Airport Authority(DAA) were allowed to double capacity at Dublin Airport. The activists had "DAA-CLIMATE CRIMINALS" written on their backs.
Minister Gormley said that he agreed with them on this issue, indeed he had mentioned the "serious threat" of climate change several times in his speech. After the campaigners had made their point they were peacefully escorted out of the conference suite and Mr Gormley was allowed to continue. Despite all he says Plane Mad continue to be disappointed that neither John Gormley or his party are clear or vocal enough in their opposition to expansion at Dublin Airport.
Ian Clotworthy, one of cartoon criminals, said
"Fingal County Council are not fit hosts for a green infrastructure conference when one of the least "green" pieces of infrastructure in Ireland is currently being built at Dublin Airport."
"We support "UPROAR" in their campaign against this second runway and we oppose it ourselves because of the contribution of aviation emissions to climate change"
UPROAR (United Portmarnock residents opposing another runway) have been opposing the construction of a 2nd runway for 8 years, since 2000. 850 people from the area objected to the runway after the campaign was launched around Christmas 2000. UPROAR were initially extremely successful in that the Inspector reviewing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and all the information available about the planned development found in favour of the objectors. The Inspector recommended that the planning application be refused on mainly on the issue of noise pollution and community welfare. Her decision however, was overturned by An Bord Pleanala.
Tara Sheehy of Plane Mad who was also in the conference suit in Malahide said,
"Doubling capacity at Dublin Airport will also double the amount of emissions. Spending money in an economic downturn on such a project of pollution is madness."
The Environmental Protection Agency allocated just over 20,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent for each of the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 to Dublin Airport. This is only 1% of the 2 million tonnes of CO2 (at least), emitted by Dublin Airport's 21 million passengers.
On a day when even America can elect a president who claims to understand the importance of climate change, Plane Mad would like to see this "Green-tinged" government halt their airport expansion plans. Plane Mad will continue to fight the second runway until it is stopped.