Metrolink decision puts climate-friendly transport ‘on the long finger’

Published by Shamim Malekmian on

March 27th, 2019

The Green Party has criticised the National Transport Authority (NTA) for delaying the full expansion of Dublin’s proposed underground transport system.

The MetroLink project is one of the three most significant public transport infrastructure projects included in the National Development Plan under Project Ireland 2040.

The NTA yesterday announced a revised route as plans for full expansion were temporarily struck out as it would require prolonged closure of the Luas Green Line.

Plans for upgrading the Green Line to Metro standards in line with the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area had been included in MetroLink’s initial proposed rout.

The previously proposed metro line was also set to stretch as far as Sandyford but it is now proposed to terminate at Charlemont.

“During consultation a concern arose about the need to close the Green Line for a prolonged period during an upgrade,” the NTA said in a press statement. 

“Acknowledging these concerns, an alternative approach has been developed that allows the new section of metro line to be built now, with the Green Line conversion to metro, to occur at an appropriate point in the future,” the statement read.

The Greens transport spokesperson Councillor Ciarán Cuffe said that putting half of the MetroLink “on the long finger” is the wrong decision.

“If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need MetroLink now, as well as other projects that have been put out on the back-burner,” he said.

Original proposed route to Sandyford

Expansion ideas

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan raised the party’s dissatisfaction with NTA’s announcement and raised the need to connect the line via UCD and Sandyford during Leader’s Questions yesterday.

“We should have that discussion about whether it would make sense to go west or east from there, perhaps to UCD, perhaps to Sandyford,” Leo Varadkar said.

“The option of going to Sandyford solves the long-term problem of the Luas green line, so there is common sense in that, in my view,” he added.

Fine Gael Deputy Colm Brophy called for the NTA to examine the possibility of expanding the line to Rathfarnham, Knocklyon and Firhouse in order “to service to people living in Dublin South West”.

“For many years these parts of Dublin South West have not been well serviced by public transport,” he said.

“With significant new housing developments coming on stream in areas such as Ballycullen and Stocking Lane there is now more than ever a real opportunity to have a metro service for Dublin South West.”

Dublin South West

The NTA and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) have said that their revised route for the underground system will be linking Dublin Airport to the city centre.

The new announcement follows months of postponements in publishing a revised route for MetroLink after previously proposed paths led to acquisition disputes between the transportation authority and GAA club, CLG Na Fianna.

The NTA has said that the revised rout no longer requires acquiring one of GAA club’s pitches, removing the possibility of losing the pitch for the sports club.

The new changes to the metro line announced yesterday afternoon also revealed that the number of houses to be acquired for the project have been reduced to 85 as opposed to the initial 105 estimations.

MetroLink is conducting a second public consultation from Tuesday 26th March 2.00pm to Tuesday 21st May 5.30pm.

You can download a copy of the consultation document here and then make a submission here.

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Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.