Air quality in parts of Phibsboro ‘riddled with pollution’, Dáil told

The Dáil heard that the area around Doyle's Corner in Phibsboro is 'riddled' with air pollution. Pic: Gerry Mooney

Amy Blaney

The air quality around Phibsboro in Dublin is “riddled” with air pollution, the Dáil has been told.

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon said air pollution in the inner city has reached a state of “urgency”, with limits exceeding EU directives.

“It isn’t an exaggeration to say that Phibsboro junction [Doyle’s Corner] in my constituency is riddled with air pollution,” he told the Dáil.

“Locals say the smell and heaviness of the air is inescapable and so too are the negative effects it has on one’s body.

“Some in the area, businesses included, feel as though they are forced to keep their windows closed, as what they allow in when opened is the furthest thing from clean,” he added.

The Dublin Central TD said the air pollution in residential areas is violating EU air quality limits and poses a “danger to our wellbeing”.

Under EU Air Quality Directives, countries have an air pollution limit of below 40 μg/m3 of nitrogen dioxide an hour on average over a year.

“We now have statistics which paint a dire picture,” said Mr Gannon. “Phibsboro junction has now reached a monumental and unacceptable 60 μg/m3 at times.

“Plans must be urgently drawn up to correct this before substantial damage is done to residents’ health and the local environment.

“Many locals are already highlighting respiratory issues in the area,” he added.

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon is calling for urgent action

Mr Gannon said other areas, such as Amiens Street, the Quays and East Wall, “suffer the same fate, while areas like Stoneybatter, Drumcondra and Cabra are “wondering will they be next”.

Mr Gannon said the air pollution has reached a state of “urgency”, demanding attention from the government rather than an issue for the local authority. He also requested a monitoring station to be installed in Phibsboro.

In response, Junior Minister Ossian Smyth said the results of the Google Air Smart Dublin study shows overall air quality is “generally good”, but there are localised issues of concern.

“It’s important to note that the measurements taken as part of this project provide useful insights and indicative data, but they are not of the frequency, quality or accuracy required under EU legislation for comparison to current EU limits.”

Official assessment of air quality across Ireland is conducted using data from the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme maintained by the EPA.

The monitoring network has been upgraded in recent years from 29 monitoring stations in 2017 to the current 116.

The minister said since 2019 there has been “no official exceedance of these limits”, and there are no plans in place for additional stations.

In 2021, the World Health Organisation set revised guidelines to limit annual average nitrogen dioxide to 10 μg/m3.

However, the minister said this would be “extremely difficult to achieve as long as petrol and diesel vehicles remain in use”.