Saturday 20 July 2019

'Split Metrolink to avoid southside squabble': TDs

An artist's impression of how an entrance to the MetroLink might look on O'Connell Street
An artist's impression of how an entrance to the MetroLink might look on O'Connell Street
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Two Dublin TDs have called for the long-awaited Metrolink to be split into two phases - with the northside given priority - over what they termed a "southside squabble".

Fine Gael TDs Alan Farrell and Noel Rock have called for the €3bn project to be split, warning that northsiders cannot be left without a metro link due to delays caused by opposition on the southside.

The rail link - a version of a boom-time era plan shelved during the recession - will run from Sandyford in south Dublin to Estuary north of Swords with a total journey time of just 50 minutes, connecting with Dublin Airport and Irish Rail services along the route.

Transport bosses were forced to re-examine the route following a local backlash both north and south of the Liffey and pressure from senior politicians, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.

It is the southside element of the route that has stirred the most opposition among various communities.

A proposed road closure in the Ranelagh-Rathmines area attracted huge criticism and opposition also emerged to the proposed point at which the metro would come above ground - initially planned for the Charlemont Luas stop - with locals objecting that it would lead to the erection of a "Berlin wall" in the well-heeled area.

Mr Rock, who represents Ballymun, said "the southside squabble should not be allowed to derail this long-promised project".

A revised route for the project is due to be published in the coming weeks, with workarounds expected to cost around €100m.

Irish Independent

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