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Ireland’s An Bord Pleanála (Planning Board) has granted approval to Dublin Port’s €230m Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) project, which will increase the port’s ability to handle large ships.

The ABR infrastructure development project will transform the port’s infrastructure and enable it to service the economy for decades ahead.

The five-year project will deepen and lengthen 3km of the port’s 7km of berths and provide an entrance channel with a depth of at least 10m.

Dublin Port Company chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly said: "I am delighted that An Bord Pleanála has granted Dublin Port planning permission for the ABR project and to say that we can finance the project immediately.

"We expect the first phase of works to be tendered and a contractor ready to start by October 2015."

"The engineering design works are already at an advanced stage, and we expect the first phase of works to be tendered and a contractor ready to start by October 2015.

"The ABR project is a complex undertaking that required co-ordinated planning with a range of bodies, including Dublin City Council, the National Roads Authority (NRA), the National Transport Agency (NTA), ESB Networks and Eirgrid."

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Following the approval, Dublin Port will now focus on securing consent from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Dublin Port is one of 83 core ports on the EU’s TEN-T network and the ABR project is the first major project from the port’s masterplan 2012 to 2040.

In October 2014, the EU agreed to fund €2.4m of Dublin Port Company’s costs of bringing the ABR project through to the point of being ready for construction.

On 30 June, the European Commission announced further funding of €22.8m for the construction phase of development.

The project is also under appraisal by the European Investment Bank (EIB) for €100m of long-term debt finance.