A political storm is brewing over MetroLink, with Fine Gael claiming that Fianna Fail want to throw the long-awaited light-rail project off track.
A proposal within the FF election manifesto suggests delaying the €3bn scheme until 2022, only to then begin to redesign the network and its route from scratch.
MetroLink, which will provide an electrified rail link from Swords to Dublin Airport and the city, has already suffered a number of stop-start delays, but is on target to begin construction in 2021 for its 2027 delivery.
FG Deputy Alan Farrell warned: “Residents have too often been sold false promises. Now we are making progress.
“It is wholly irresponsible of Fianna Fail representatives to propose delaying this until 2022.
“Only last week, MetroLink ground investigations, including the drilling of boreholes and associated support works, were taking place in Swords.
“Now, it seems Fianna Fail are considering throwing the project completely off track.
“We need sustainable public transport infrastructure as a matter of priority, both in terms of catering for our growing communities, and providing better public transport options to take vehicles off our roads, and reduce emissions resulting from high levels of private traffic.
“Without the delivery of MetroLink, the northside of Dublin will grind to a halt as a result of traffic congestion. This is simply unacceptable.”
The Fine Gael manifesto also suggests making changes to the Metro plans, which were first mooted 20 years ago but shelved during the economic downturn.
It says it’s worth considering extending MetroLink to University College Dublin and other locations in south west Dublin – even though the preferred route was unveiled last year after a number of revisions.
Last week, MetroLink issued a notice advising of a number of ground investigations due to begin at Estuary Court in Swords to “help inform the design and development of the project”.
Dublin Chamber warned last week that the capital’s success over the next decade will depend on the next government’s ability to implement the key projects of the National Development plan, including MetroLink.
Its director of public affairs, Aebhric McGibney, said: “Dublin’s ability to cope with future demand will depend on how well we can learn from the mistakes of the past. There is a history of going back to the drawing board when governments change.
“But strong growth and increasing pressure on infrastructure means Dublin cannot afford further delays in key projects. Plans for many of the projects we badly need are already in train.”