Wednesday, 6 October 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Transport Infrastructure Ireland
I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 13 together.
I would like to clarify the current position in relation to the DART+and MetroLink projects.
DART+ is a programme which actually comprises five different projects, each of which is progressing at a different pace resulting in different stages of development. MetroLink is likely the largest ever public investment project in the history of the State.
Both face imminent and important milestones in the coming months which will determine the progress of each in the coming years.
Firstly, there is Government’s approval of the Preliminary Business Case and secondlythere is the submission of a Railway Order application to An Bord Pleanála.
On that first milestone, my Department has received Preliminary Business Cases for both. This represents Decision Gate 1 under the Public Spending Codeand those Preliminary Business Cases are currently under review. For major projects, like DART+ and MetroLink, the Public Spending Coderequires a Government decision and I expect to seek such a Government decision in the near future.
If approved by Government, that will allow the contracts to be signed in relation to DART+ Fleet and will also allow MetroLink and DART+ West move into the statutory planning system, subject to the completion of the necessary planning and environmental documentation.
The second impending milestone is the submission of Railway Order applications for DART+ West and MetroLink. Those applications require the finalisation of an extensive set of documentation, including environmental impact assessment reports, and that work is ongoing in relation to both projects.
On MetroLink I understand that an extensive body of work remains in relation to finalising the preliminary design, completing the required environmental impact assessment reports and closing out property referencing issues. This should be completed during Q1 next year and, subject to the Government decision mentioned above, the project will then be ready to seek planning permission.
On DART+, the most advanced of the proposed infrastructure projects is DART+ West. The second round of public consultation on DART+ West has recently been extended until early October, today in fact. Issues raised during this consultation process, including those raised by public representatives, will need to be fully considered and appropriately addressed before they’re ready to enter the planning system. Once that has been completed, and similar to MetroLink, DART+ West can then move into the planning system subject to the aforementioned Government approval and finalisation of planning documentation.
I hope this clarifies the current position.