MetroLink reveal plan to reduce the impact on well-known GAA club
Transport chiefs are on the verge of amending plans for the MetroLink in order to significantly reduce its impact on Na Fianna GAA club.
Members of the club have been fighting against proposals for the underground train since it emerged they would lose their pitches for up to six years.
It was expected two tunnels would be dug under north Dublin for the €3bn metro's route from the city centre to the airport and back. Na Fianna would have been required to give up its lands to facilitate machinery. It was earmarked as one of the points where tunnel boring will begin.
However, planners are moving towards a larger single tunnel which would require less excavation work.
The cost implications are unclear at this stage, but the news will be welcomed by communities in the Glasnevin area who have been campaigning to save their playing pitches.
Na Fianna, which has more than 2,000 young members and 380 volunteers, will still face some disruption but its main pitch would be preserved. And the impact of the works will be reduced to two years.
Local Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, who met with the National Transport Authority (NTA) yesterday, said it was a welcome development.
"I am satisfied that the main pitch will now be saved," he told the Irish Independent.
Mr Rock said Na Fianna, the nearby Home Farm FC and schools on the Mobhi Road, will still face some disruption, but not on the scale previously feared.
A spokesperson for the NTA said no final decision had yet been taken. However, they confirmed they were "veering towards a single tunnel solution".
"A single tunnel would mean there would be no need for a tunnel construction site in the area of Na Fianna but we would still look to build a station in the vicinity, which could cause some disruption," the NTA said.
Details of the final route will be published following a review of submissions made during a recent public consultation process. These are likely to be revealed in mid-August.
It is understood that if the single tunnel option is pursued, other land may be required in the Ballymun area for a construction site that would allow the tunnel boring machines to be lowered into the ground.
Mr Rock said that while there "remain outstanding issues to resolve", he is now confident that the community and NTA can work together.
"I look forward to taking the Metro to work before the end of 2027," he said.
The campaign run by Na Fianna was backed by a number of high-profile media and political personalities. Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is a member of the club.
The MetroLink, which will run from Swords to Sandyford, is also proving controversial on the southside of the city, where locals are demanding that it should go underground.
The southside section will see an upgrading of the Luas Green Line along 12 stops to enable the service to travel above ground.
However, residents in areas such as Ranelagh believe it will cut them off from local amenities.