Monday 25 June 2018

Finance Minister demands solution to MetroLink row with members of his own GAA club

More than 650 people attended a meeting in Clontarf Castle last night about the controversial development. Photo: Steve Humphreys
More than 650 people attended a meeting in Clontarf Castle last night about the controversial development. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Kirsty Blake Knox and Ian Begley

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has intervened to demand a "solution" in the MetroLink row between transport chiefs and the GAA club where he is a member.

The minister spoke out yesterday about the disruption that could be caused to Na Fianna GAA as the underground line is constructed.

Mr Donohoe said it "is imperative in the consultative process that the NTA are dealing with issues that are being raised by clubs like Na Fianna".

Transport authorities must "respect the vital role" clubs like Na Fianna GAA "play in social and community life," he also warned.

Na Fianna has been at the centre of the Glasnevin community for more than 60 years.

Currently, 2,000 young people attend the Na Fianna club each week. It also has 380 ratified volunteers.

But one of the proposed underground MetroLink stops in Glasnevin will be located directly below the grounds.

It will also be one of the points where tunnel boring will begin.

As a result, the club's pitches will be unavailable during the construction phase - which is estimated to take six years.

This week, the NTA met with Na Fianna to discuss their concerns.

Mr Donohoe said it is "critical" Na Fianna and the National Transport Authority (NTA) reach a solution during the consultative MetroLink process.

The minister said he was hopeful both parties would reach a solution in due course.

"I know that Na Fianna are meeting the NTA again today and are participating very strongly in the process. Coming out of the consultative process it is critical that a solution be found," he said.

The minister also acknowledged the benefit the MetroLink will bring to the north side of Dublin.

Construction is expected to begin in 2021. The line will cover a 26km stretch and will extend from Swords to Sandyford.

Separately, about 650 people packed into the conference hall of Clontarf Castle last night following An Bord Pleanála's decision on the controversial development beside St Anne's Park, Raheny.

Planning permission has been granted for the development despite more than 1,000 local objections.

Those in attendance were asked if they had an appetite to raise money for a judicial review.

A speaker said about €5,000 is needed for the first-step of the process, which will require a barrister's assessment to see if the review is feasible.

The next step is said to cost €25,000 to accumulate all the necessary paper work. The final stage, however, is estimated at €250,000.

Georgina Moore, the founder of 'I Love St Anne's Group', said: "It's extraordinarily expensive, but that's what we're all here for tonight - to see if there's an appetite.

"If we don't get the support for this, then it's all over."

Irish Independent

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