Monday 25 March 2019

'It won't be happening' - Ross blocks Metrolink over four-year Luas closure

Shane Ross: Transport Minister called a crisis meeting. Photo: Collins
Shane Ross: Transport Minister called a crisis meeting. Photo: Collins
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Transport Minister Shane Ross has said a proposed Metrolink plan on part of Dublin's southside is out of the question because of "undue" disruption to Luas services.

The line had been expected to run between Swords and Sandyford.

However, a potential closure of the Luas Green Line for four years looks to have ended those particular plans.

The proposal would involve running the Metro underground at Ranelagh in what has been described as a "cut and cover" technique.

Mr Ross was so alarmed at the proposal that he sought a crisis meeting with the NTA and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

Speaking about the proposal at a Tourism Ireland event yesterday, Mr Ross said that such a plan was out of the question.

"The Government and I will not countenance the situation where there is a closure of a major infrastructural project - not just tourism, of course - it would be for a long period of time," he said.

"The idea that we could close a vein or an artery into a major city for four years is completely and utterly unacceptable - or for two years is unacceptable.

"I won't countenance any project which comes up with a proposal which inconveniences commuters to that extent or any extent.

"It won't be happening. I won't countenance four years or any undue delay. Two years is out of the question," he added.

Mr Ross told the Dáil last night that a revised plan by the NTA will be published soon, which will address concerns raised during the first consultation on the Metrolink.

"The NTA will then hold a new public consultation on the preferred route when published.

"After this a decision on the final route will be made and then this will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála at which stage statutory consultation periods will take place.

"That's the way it works and it works in that way for a very, very good reason," Mr Ross said.

Earlier this week, the Rethink Metrolink group said in a statement that they were concerned at the delays in publication of the review of the project.

"We believe the sensible way forward is to start with the northside link from the airport. The southside route is new and clearly needs a full rethink based on public feedback," they said.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock also said that the project should be split into two to avoid any further delays.

"It's time to get the revised proposals out into the public, let the consultation begin, and let's get started with this project," he said.

"The northside needs it, and the link between the city centre and the airport."

Irish Independent

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