Luas chaos after blaze could go on for weeks

Martin Flanagan

THOUSANDS of commuters face weeks of disruption because of repairs to a fire-damaged building near the city centre.

Traders are also being warned that the problems will result in big losses as shoppers avoid the transport headache.

It has been estimated that more than 65,000 people have been affected by the disruptions to the Luas every day for the past week alone.

And now the Herald understands that the service between Heuston Station and the city centre could be out of action for longer than previously expected due to "substantial" structural damage to the 18th century buildings close to the tracks.

Dublin City Council said that following an assessment, two of the three fire-damaged buildings must have their second and third floors removed.

They said "owing to the demolition of the upper floors, the damage is substantial".

It was also outlined how the third building will have to be stabilised and made secure.

"We are very aware that we have to recognise the character of the streetscape and we have engineers and a contractor on site working around the clock to see what can be done to make the building safe and to minimise removal of any part of the site following the damage. It is a privately owned building and was not effectively secured against access," a spokesperson for the council said.

A spokesperson for Luas operators Veolia Transport said it was still uncertain when the service would resume.

"We can't confirm at the minute if services will be operating by the weekend, or Monday. We are looking at a lot of different options right now," the spokesperson said.

"There's no doubt that this has had an effect on thousands of people."