Dublin Airport operator DAA has received the green light to charge motorists dropping off family and friends at both terminals. 

The Fingal County Council has granted planning permission for the Dublin Airport Authority to install the necessary infrastructure and make the necessary road changes to create paid drop-off and pick-up zones outside both terminals. 

The new system will not be in place for the summer season with construction likely to begin in the second half of 2022, according to a DAA spokesperson.

The DAA also said a free drop-off zone will still be available at the airport's long-term express Red car park.

The DAA spokesperson said the system had been introduced to reduce the number of car journeys to and from Dublin Airport and to encourage passengers to use public transport. 

"As part of our sustainability agenda, the new system aims to reduce car journeys to and from the airport and to encourage passengers to make greater use of public transport," the spokesperson said in a statement. 

"Commercial funds raised by the new system will be ringfenced for sustainability initiatives at the airport, including a proposed solar farm, the conversion of our car park and staff shuttle bus fleet from diesel to low-emission vehicles and the installation of more electric vehicle charging points." 

The system will be based on automated number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, which will read license plates at both the entry and exit to the drop-off and pick-up zones. Motorists will be charged based on how long they spend in the zones. 

The announcement provoked a wave of criticism from the Irish public. 

Social Democrats transport spokesperson Catherine Murphy accused the DAA of using sustainability as a pretext for introducing the new system and said it had "all the hallmarks of a money-grab". 

"The reality is the only public transport connection to Dublin Airport is via bus and even those limited services are dwindling," Murphy said. 

Former Fine Gael TD Noel Rock said on Twitter that the system compounded the lack of transport options available from the airport. 

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"Beautiful. To add to the cead mile failte of no Metro and every taxi driver complaining if you want to be dropped anywhere north of the Liffey: now your family will be charged for collecting you," Rock said on Twitter. 

Beautiful. To add to the cead mile failte of no Metro and every taxi driver complaining if you want to be dropped anywhere north of the Liffey: now your family will be charged for collecting you. https://t.co/s6v5Rje4eJ

— Noel Rock (@NoelRock) March 7, 2022

The latest revised timeline for the Dublin Airport Metrolink suggests that the project will not be completed until 2035 at the earliest, while the Airlink and Dublin Airport Hopper bus services have recently been suspended. 

Labour Party transport spokesperson Duncan Smith said Ireland did not have the transport infrastructure in place to get most people to and from the airport. 

"I have repeatedly demanded that the government stop kicking the can on Metrolink for this very reason," Smith said. 

Fingal County Council previously refused planning permission for paid drop-off zones 13 months ago.