Friday 18 January 2019

Metro marks a 'new dawn'

The MetroLink project is moving forward.
The MetroLink project is moving forward.
The route will begin in Swords.

John Manning

The chief executive of Fingal Dublin Chamber has expressed confidence that the new plan Metrolink will be realised this time and says it is part of a 'new dawn' as Ireland wakes up to he importance of investing in infrastructure.

Fingal Dublin Chamber CEO, Anthony Cooney spoke to the Fingal Independent at chamber offices in Swords and said he is confident that Metrolink will happen.

Mr Cooney said: 'It's going to be a long road - it's nine years to completion and for the first couple of years I don't think there will be a shovel going into the ground. The good thing is that it is very firmly on the agenda and from the top down in the Government it is a very clear project now because they see it as good not only for the airport, but for the greater Dublin Area and for the whole country.'

Commenting on the project's importance for the region, and in particular, for Fingal's main economic driver, Dublin Airport, Mr Cooney said: 'It gives us access (to the city centre) which is really what the business community is looking for. The big issue for the airport now, with an annual growth rate of 6%, it will go over 30 million passengers this year and the issue then is how you get people from there, in and out of the city.

'You can't just keep putting on more and more taxis and buses - it's just not doable. It's actually an impediment to the growth of the airport, Fingal and of Dublin and Ireland if we don't have that access. Don't forget that Dublin Airport accounts for 5% of GDP so it is a big player.'

Mr Cooney attended the launch of the public consultation phase of the Metrolink project which bids to link Swords and Sandyford, via Dublin Airport and the City Centre along a new Metro line.

On the project itself, he said: 'It's really a comprehensive project and they seem to have their numbers done on it and the big win for us, as a region is the access it gives us from the estuary, all the way to the south-side of Dublin. It's a real boost for us and it's a boost to the economy.'

He added: 'I think it will be a huge boost to the local economy, not only from the capital investment in the project itself but I think when you get good access from the airport, and when people can go north or south out of the airport very easily, it will encourage people to come here. I know for a fact, from doing business for years, that people always had an issue getting off at the airport and wondering what happens then. There's over 1,000 buses a day coming out of Dublin Airport, let alone the number of taxis and that's something that can't continue.'

Expressing confidence that this is a new dawn and not a false dawn, Mr Cooney said: 'I think it's going to happen. To be honest, I've said it before that it takes us too long in this country to get projects from concept to completion but I think genuinely, we are in a bit of a new dawn here and we are realising it is all about access, it is all about infrastructure. We can't keep attracting FDIs here without putting investment in the country.'

Fingal Independent