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  • Northside East

Urgent action required on DART extension

Wednesday, 13th December, 2017 8:00am
Urgent action required on  DART extension

When will we see the DART finally extended to Balbriggan? FILE PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Urgent action required on  DART extension

When will we see the DART finally extended to Balbriggan? FILE PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Shauna Bowers

A NORTHSIDE TD has urged Minister for Transport Shane Ross to take urgent action to ensure that the DART extension out to Rush, Lusk, Skerries and Balbriggan proceeds quickly.

Speaking in the Dail last week, Dublin Fingal TD Alan Farrell (FG) said with the growing population, the DART extension is needed before the existing services on the Northern Commuter Line become inadequate in terms of passenger demand. 

“It is simply worrying that the DART extension to Balbriggan has not been prioritised in this regard,” said Deputy Farrell. 

“This is not only the case in catering for the increase in demand which will result from our growing communities in Dublin Fingal, but also in terms of reducing the levels of congestion throughout Dublin city.”

According to Census 2016, Fingal’s population is the fastest growing in Ireland (almost 300,000 residents) and Deputy Farrell believes this needs to be kept in mind.

“Minister Ross has now confirmed to me that design and planning work for the DART extension project will be reactivated in 2018,” he said.  

“The Minister also stated that it is likely to be 2021 before building work starts, subject to the necessary statutory planning approval, which is expected to be sought in 2020.

“I would urge the Minister to take urgent action to ensure the DART extension project to serve Donabate, Rush & Lusk, Skerries and Balbriggan is treated with the utmost urgency in terms of delivering a vital service for commuters. 

“Failure to do so can only contribute to bringing our city to a standstill due to traffic levels.”

Meanwhile some Balbriggan locals fear that a DART extension through Rush, Lusk and Balbriggan could have a negative impact on travel during off-peak times by delaying commuter trains due to having to stop at all the stations.

Joanne McGee said that while the introduction of a DART line in Balbriggan could have some positive impacts, there are definitely drawbacks too.

“On one hand, I’d welcome it [the DART] because I assume it would mean more frequent service but on the other hand, it’s highly likely that it could slow commute times because it would need to stop a lot,” Ms McGee   said.

Local residents also fear that the DART extension won’t go ahead because it has been a topic of discussion in Fingal for so many years and no progress has made been made yet.

“They’ve been saying this for years but I just don’t know if will actually happen, but it’d be great if it did,” local resident Kelley Reilly said.

Another local, Ashleigh Nolan, who regularly uses the train service, said: “It’s kind of a case of the boy who cried wolf because we’ve been hearing about this for so long and nothing has materialised.  

“I don’t think anyone will believe it until we see a DART sitting in Balbriggan Train Station.”

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here