Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Ceisteanna (Atógáil) - Questions (Resumed) - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
Rail Network Expansion
MetroLink is one of the flagship projects proposed for delivery under Project Ireland 2040. The project envisages the development of a north-south urban railway service that will run between Swords and Sandyford, connecting key destinations along the 26 km route. A large proportion of the route will be underground, including where it passes under the important city centre area and Dublin Airport.
As the Deputy alludes to, the project, as published in Project Ireland 2040, plans to integrate into the current Luas green line on the southside of the city, and to upgrade the integrated segment to a higher, metro level, standard of service. MetroLink will open for passenger services in 2027, towards the end of the next decade, and it will need to address our city's travel needs into the mid years of this century and beyond. We are looking to deliver the long term, sustainable solution to Dublin's transport needs so it is important that we plan and provide for a network that can cope with the higher travel demands expected along the green line into the future, as these will exceed the capacity that would be possible with only a Luas type service.
In line with the relevant statutory framework, the MetroLink project is being developed by the NTA and Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII. Last year the two agencies completed a public consultation process on the emerging preferred route. That process was one in which communities along the entire route and beyond took a keen interest and approximately 8,000 submissions were received in relation to various aspects as they impacted both northside and southside of the city. Since that process concluded, both agencies have been considering the thousands of submissions received with a view to developing what will be known as the preferred route. This preferred route will reflect the NTA's and TII’s consideration of the issues raised and a further round of public consultation will take place shortly on this preferred route. Following that the NTA and TII will develop a final route which will be the one brought forward to An Bord Pleanála for its consideration as part of the planning process.
I can understand the Deputy’s perspective as he has raised it here today, but I am sure he can understand that it would be wholly inappropriate for me to comment on particular route alignments while work is under way by the relevant statutory agencies.