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  • Northside West

GAA club and gaelscoil feared future

Tuesday, 2nd April, 2019 7:59am
GAA club and gaelscoil feared future

Students mark out where the boreholes were originally meant to go.

GAA club and gaelscoil feared future

Students mark out where the boreholes were originally meant to go.

Ryan Clarke

THERE is an urgent need to bring Dublin's public transport infrastructure into the 21st century, but the original proposed MetroLink route put Northside communities at risk.

With a crystal blue sky and the smell of pollen lingering in the air as the trees lining St Mobhí Road begin to bloom, Na Fianna’s groundsman was marking out the pitch as students from the nearby gaelscoils pottered about.

To many, it was inconceivable that this could become what Carmel de Grae, the principal of Scoil Chaitríona, called the largest building site in the state’s history.

De Grae was talking about the €3 billion MetroLink project, announced last year, which originally planed to use Na Fianna’s main pitch for two boreholes. 

The boreholes were to be the central point from which t tunnels across the city were to be excavated. Under the proposal, Na Fianna was to lose its main pitch along with two all-weather pitches for a period of up to six years.

The impact on nearby Scoil Mobhí and Scoil Chaitríona would have been substantial as well.

The impact MetroLink could have had on this community was stark. Na Fianna has around 3,500 members and fields 174 football and hurling teams, which is more than the entire county of Leitrim.

Na Fianna’s public relations officer, Cormac O’Sullivan, was worried that if the original proposals had gone ahead, it would have been a threat to both the schools and Na Fianna.

“We feared losing an entire generation of people and players if we lost access,” he said.

Supposed to be celebrating Scoil Chaitríona’s 90th anniversary in 2018, principal Carmel de Grae admitted that her focus was on ensuring the survival of the gaelscoil.

Located behind Na Fianna’s clubhouse, it was almost impossible to see the school from St Mobhí road, which added to the feeling they were forgotten about by the NTA.

“I know that they (NTA) met with Na Fianna two days before the plan was to be published and it was only the day after that we got a hand-delivered letter,” she said.

“So, I’ve a funny feeling they did forget about us. I just can’t see how they can make that plan without knowing there were schools in the vicinity.”

The boundary of the building site would have been just five meters from Scoil Chaitríona’s art room. 

For de Grae, the community response to the threat was heart-warming. About 1,500 submissions were made on behalf of the school.

“The kids’ response was brilliant,” she said.

Last week’s news that the new preferred route no longer posed a threat to the GAA club or the school was met with relief in the community.

“Nobody here is against the MetroLink itself, just the original proposal,” O’Sullivan said. “Anybody who has any sense of fairness could see this wasn’t going to work.”

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