Ballymun locals are furious at the prospect that plans for a long-awaited shopping centre may be scuppered to make way for a MetroLink site.
It is believed that a MetroLink compound will be set for Ballymun during the tram’s construction, but that it will be on the site of the former Ballymun Shopping Centre.
Residents have long demanded a replacement for the abandoned shopping centre, saying that there are little to no amenities in the locality for Ballymun’s 18,000-plus residents.
The site of the former shopping centre was sold in 2015 to the Alanis Group for a planned reconstruction of a new centre, but this has not yet happened.
The shopping centre is currently partially demolished, with no clear sign of when shops in the area will be replaced. Work is set to begin on a new Lidl store in the coming months on an adjoining site.
While residents acknowledge that the Metro project is needed, many argue that shops for the area are a more urgent need for the locality than a compound to store the equipment for the transport project.
It’s believed that the MetroLink could take several years to complete – potentially from seven years up to a decade.
Multiple locals have voiced their anger over the issue on the Facebook group, Ballymun Talks.
For example, one resident said that she and her child live across from the proposed site, and struggle with asthma, and the potential of a compound being on her doorstep for 10 years would be “awful”.
Karen Ni Dhochartaigh wrote: “I literally face the centre and myself and the little one are both asthmatic. It would be a disaster. I was dreading Lidl starting up – the completed store will be great – but a compound right on my doorstep for nearly 10 years would be awful.”
Cllr Noeleen Reilly (Ind) said she is “totally opposed” to the idea of a compound being used on the site, and that she will question MetroLink on the plans.
She said: “There have been rumours that some want to use the Ballymun Shopping Centre [site] as a construction site.
“I will be questioning [Metrolink] on their intent and making it clear the community will oppose this, tooth and nail. The only construction we want to see on that site is the building of shops.”