'Borehole site could be dangerous for children in schools and GAA club' - transport chairman
A proposal to use the grounds of Dublin's Na Fianna GAA Club as a construction site for the MetroLink rail service could be dangerous for children using a number of adjacent schools, according to the chairman for the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the National Transport Authority has published its preferred route for the MetroLink project, part of which will be constructed underground in the Glasnevin area.
It is proposed to use the Na Fianna site in the construction of a borehole for the north-south rail line, which could mean the amenity becoming a building site for a period of six or seven years, according to local groups.
The site is not only home to the historic GAA club, but also a number of schools that would be adversely affected.
Yesterday, a delegation from the Oireachtas committee visited the site as part of its hearings into the impact of MetroLink construction on local amenities.
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Chairman Fergus O'Dowd said that while everyone recognised the need for improved transport infrastructure he could see how the Glasnevin site would be wrong on a number of levels. He said a seven-year project duration was more than an entire school cycle. "Students would not be in a school, they would be in a building site. It will be dangerous. This is not the place for it," he stressed.
"It's a €3bn project, and it is hugely important it proceed swiftly and effectively, but clearly people cannot be discommoded in such a huge investment in recreation and amenity here, so we have to find a way around it."
Fine Gael TD Noel Rock said an engineering and community solution needed to be found. "It is vital the voices of Na Fianna and the schools are heard."
Principal of Scoil Mobhi Marcella Nic Niallaigh told the delegation the site was not the right one for tunnel boring.
"The schools and the club all interact and rely on each other. We have everything from pre-school, school and after-school activities going on here, as well as numerous clubs and activities going on to 8pm," she said.
Na Fianna chairman Cormac Ó Donnchú said the scale of the proposal raised concerns about the viability of the community.
"We are supportive of any improvement in our local and national infrastructure but it needs to be done in a balanced and proportionate way and needs to show some degree of respect to the level of community usage in this area," he said.