MetroLink plan rolls into a row before the €3bn project begins

by Jordan Upshaw
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The emerging preferred route for the recently announced €3 billion MetroLink project has seen mounting controversy, with the proposed route likely to require the acquisition and demolition of an indeterminate number of properties, including houses and apartment buildings, with no plan yet in place to accommodate the families which would be displaced.

Cllr Ruairi McGinley (Ind) said: “While the project is welcome to the extent that [it will] increase public transport options and is accessible to the Ranelagh area both at Beechwood and Charlemont, it is a complex project.

“Any impacts on areas such as Dunville Avenue and Dartmouth need to be evaluated and minimised.”

Construction is to begin in 2021 but the MetroLink is not to be operational until 2027.

During those six years of construction, Na Fianna GAA club and Home Farm FC could have their pitches requisitioned for storage of materials, which would render them unusable.

Both clubs are concerned about the potential loss of their pitches. Na Fianna struggles to make do with its current amount of pitches due to their number of members.

They have been searching for additional space without luck for some time now.

Another point of contention is the fact Na Fianna was informed of this only two days prior to the official launch of the project. Home Farm received even less warning, only being informed one day before the official announcement.

Home Farm FC described the news as “totally unexpected”. They said: “The pitch, which is part of a private and enclosed ground, is played on by schoolboy and schoolgirl teams who use the pitch throughout the season.

“Clearly, and at a minimum, whatever alternative facilities are proposed must be of a comparable high standard, they must be local and be in place by the end of 2019.”

Cllr Anne Feeney (FG) acknowledged both sides of the issue, saying: “I welcome the launch of the MetroLink project and infrastructure [plan]. Dublin is well behind other Europe and capital cities in terms of an integrated transport system, and it badly needs integrated solutions.

“Hopefully we will see lots of well publicised consultation opportunities, not just information evenings, during 2018 to allow people to fully understand the benefits and also any implications, both during the construction phase and after it, and also to hear other proposals which could influence the final design.

“We need more information from the NTA in relation to the detailed design proposal of the preferred route, as it affects each area.

“This process of information and consultation needs to start soon, as the vacuum between the initial announcement and dealing with the real and practical issues for individuals and communities is unhelpful and only adds to anxiety levels, whether well founded or not,” she said.

The proposal is still at the consultation stage. The route will not be finalised until the end of the consultation process and it remains to be seen whether or not the emerging preferred route will be used.

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