• Northside West

Hopes of an earlier Metro North dashed

Monday, 6th February, 2017 8:00am

Story by Jack Gleeson
Hopes of an  earlier Metro North dashed

Calls have been made to fast-track the Metro North project.

Hopes of an  earlier Metro North dashed

Calls have been made to fast-track the Metro North project.

THE Department of Transport has poured cold water on reports that construction of Metro North could be accelerated by two years in the upcoming mid-term review of the Government’s Capital Plan.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe last week said extra funding is available for the Capital Plan, which includes the 17km Metro North rail link between Dublin Airport and the city centre.

Construction is planned to begin in 2021, with a completion date predicted for 2026/27 but speculation was rife last week that the additional funding could be used to speed up the project by as much as two years.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce says building of Metro North is urgently needed to address ever-worsening congestion in the city.

“Speeding up the construction of Metro North would send a clear signal to the people and businesses of Dublin - and also workers and companies looking to locate here in light of Brexit - that Ireland is serious about addressing the current infrastructure deficits that threaten to stifle growth,” said Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke: 

“The lack of a rail link between the city and the Airport is proving a deterrent to companies moving jobs and business to Ireland.”

The Chamber said that Metro North will provide a transport solution for Dublin Airport, and also the fast-growing North County Dublin region.

Dublin City Councillor, Noeleen Reilly (SF), also called on Minister Donoghue to prioritise Metro North.

“The Metro North was supposed to be the cornerstone of the Ballymun regeneration connecting Ballymun, Glasnevin and Drumcondra with the City Centre, Airport and County Dublin,” she said.

“When this project stalled much of the commercial development planned for the town centre of Ballymun disappeared.

“Over the last number of years there has been a commitment to get the Metro North up and running again but not until 2026 with construction starting in 2021.

“A lot can happen between now and then and certainly the long timeline has not provided much faith in the community considering the previous false promises.”

However, in a statement to Northside People, the Department of Transport said extra funding wouldn’t necessarily speed up the Metro North project.

“Unfortunately, there is little scope to accelerate the project and sadly not by the two years mentioned in recent reports,” a spokesperson said.

“At present, we are looking at construction commencing  in 2021 and it would not be possible to accelerate that to 2019 in view of the significant body of work that must be done in terms of planning and the timeframes required for consultation before construction can commence.”

Dublin Fingal TD Alan Farrell (FG) called on Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, to secure this funding for Metro North as a matter of priority.

Deputy Farrell said: “This funding could, potentially, bring forward the delivery of Metro North, which would be undoubtedly beneficial, not only to the local community it will serve in the north county, but also in terms of attracting inward investment and trade.

“With Swords moving towards becoming a city in its own right, and with passenger numbers at Dublin Airport continuing to grow, the development of a rail based link to connect these communities with the city centre is essential. Bringing forward the delivery of Metro North must be viewed, as a matter of priority, by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and by the Government as a whole.” 

Deputy Farrell believes Metro North should be fast-tracked, “particularly in light of Brexit”. 

“Ensuring we have adequate public infrastructure to attract jobs and investment into Ireland is essential, and must be prioritised in order to further protect local communities in Dublin Fingal from any adverse impact Brexit may have,” he added. 

“This is an issue of both local, and national, importance and must be treated as such by the Minister (Ross), and every member of this Government.”

 

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

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