Stoneybatter rallies to fight BusConnects’ local impact

by Rachel Darcy

A North Dublin community came together last Saturday in an effort to highlight the potential devastation that BusConnects plans could have for their village.

More than 1,000 residents of Stoneybatter on the city’s northside united for a day of action on March 23, gathering to sign a petition calling on the National Transport Authority to reconsider plans for the Blanchardstown to City Centre corridor.

The community believe that the proposed corridor would have a “potentially devastating impact” on the quaint locale, seeing trees, footpaths, green spaces and parking removed – the latter having a profound impact on elderly and disabled people in the area.

Traffic would also be redirected through small residential streets, which those gathered last Saturday say would have a huge impact on the local area.

Joe Costello, who is chairperson of community group Stoneybatter Pride of Place, says there is concern amongst residents that their village would be turned into a hub of people trying to access the city.

Costello said: “There is serious concern that the NTA’s proposals will make Stoneybatter nothing more than a traffic hub for general traffic from as far away as Meath.

“The [BusConnects] objective is to move the buses to the city centre in the fastest possible time regardless of the impact on local communities.

“So much has been done in recent years by volunteers to develop Stoneybatter as a vibrant urban village. These plans would destroy the fabric of our historic urban village.

“We will not stand by and allow this to happen,” he said.

Representatives from local businesses and residents met at a green space at Manor Street to come together to celebrate the local community with music and entertainment, while information stalls were erected with copies of the NTA proposals and maps, as well as people to help residents compile their submissions ahead of the March 29 deadline.

Seaneen Sullivan, owner of L Mulligan Grocer Pub and Restaurant said: “There are in excess of 60 independently-owned businesses in Stoneybatter.

“We welcome improved public transport, but feel that the current proposals for Stoneybatter are ill-thought out and jeopardise the continued survival of our urban village, which will result in the closure of small businesses and the loss of local jobs.”

Katie Flood, owner of Love Supreme Café, said: “Stoneybatter is such a tight-knit community and you’ll find people are very open to modernisation and progressive thinking, especially when it helps the area.

“[But] the current plan seems to dissect our community rather than contribute to it – for example, the proposals to take away one of our most important green spaces or offer under-developed cycle lanes, which pose a danger to our kids cycling to local schools.

“We like to get together over music and food, rallying together and having a great day out.

“So, despite the fact our community is under threat, we will stick together, inform ourselves, act together and we will be heard.”

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