Thursday, 28 June 2007
Question 9: To ask the Minister for Transport and the Marine the proposals he has to extend the DART service north of Malahide to Balbriggan, servicing Donabate, Rush, Lusk, Skerries and Balbriggan; the timescale for the provision of such a service; and if he will ensure the planned metro service connects to the main rail line at Donabate [17998/07]
Transport 21 provides for a significant growth in capacity in rail services in the greater Dublin area, including the electrification of the northern line as far as Balbriggan. This will essentially allow for DART-style services on the northern line to Balbriggan, serving stations beyond Malahide at Donabate, Rush and Lusk, Skerries and Balbriggan. This project also involves the acquisition of new rolling stock on the lines.
The project forms part of larger Transport 21 projects involving the construction of the interconnector linking Heuston Station to Connolly Station, quadrupling the Kildare line and the electrification of the Maynooth and Navan lines. This will quadruple existing rail capacity from 25 million to 100 million passengers per annum in the greater Dublin area.
Under Transport 21, the overall project is due to be completed by 2015. However, in line with the programme for Government, I will be asking Iarnród Éireann to examine options for the possible advancement or phased advancement of the electrification northwards. No decision has yet been taken in that regard. There are no plans to extend the metro from Swords to Donabate.
I am sure the Minister, being from the neighbouring constituency, will be aware of the major infrastructural deficit in Dublin North generally, affecting schools, policing, roads and public transport. Allowing Dublin Port to make a decision in isolation should not be allowed because of its impact on the local road and rail infrastructure. Currently in Moylaragh in Balbriggan, children are living in what they believe to be their estate, although 40-foot lorries are using the road through it to make deliveries to one of the major superstores in the area. There is no alternative road access to the store. Parents are at their wits' end regarding the safety of their children and themselves. We do not want this to be repeated.
I am given to understand that Fingal County Council will be very supportive of the development of Bremore, but we do not want to see another development that does not have the infrastructure necessary for it to function such that, instead of becoming an asset to the area, it would become a major headache and cause a deterioration in the quality of life for all who live there.
Will the Minister ensure, before he has the line electrified, there are so-called nipper buses and proper car parking at the stations? There are six stations in Dublin North and they all suffer from the same problem of inaccessibility. Ludicrously — this may not relate directly to the Minister but to one of his colleagues — a local farmer who applied for planning permission for a badly needed car park had his application turned down two years ago on the grounds of prematurity. There are people parking on the roads and being clamped and they are parking in farmers' fields if the gates are left open. It is mayhem. I was in the area at 7 a.m. and noted that if one was not there by 7.10 a.m., one would not get a car space. There are women with children fighting with one another. This causes great stress and, God knows, people are stressed enough. I hope the Minister will ensure, during the course of this development, these issues are addressed urgently, even before the rail line is electrified.
The Deputy was imparting useful information to me rather than seeking it from me. He has highlighted one of the major problems in Fingal and in my constituency. Owing to the explosion in the population, houses were built without proper integrated planning for the area. That point was well made and I would not disagree with it. In fairness to Fingal County Council, it is probably one of the better county councils, but because of the explosion in the earlier part of its development cycle, approximately eight to ten years ago, it probably built houses more quickly than integrated transport could be planned. The council has got its act together in a very good way regarding some of the more recent developments, certainly over the past four or five years. I take the Deputy's point, which the Dublin Transport Authority will be able to address.