Written answers

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Rail Network

Photo of Duncan SmithDuncan Smith (Dublin Fingal, Labour)
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17. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the Government approval of the DART+ West project; the planning timeline of the project; if it is possible the approved business case could change by the time planning is approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62299/21]

Photo of Hildegarde NaughtonHildegarde Naughton (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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I thank the Deputy for the question although I think there are probably three linked but separate questions I need to address.

Firstly, both Minister Ryan and I were delighted to secure Government approval last week for DART+ West. The approval Government issued is known as Decision Gate 1 approval in the Public Spending Codeand means that DART+ West can now move forward into the statutory planning system which is a hugely significant milestone for the project and the programme as a whole.

The second part of the question relates to the planning process itself and there’s two aspects to that:

Firstly, there is the work required to get the planning application ready and then there is the length of time that will be required to consider the actual planning application. At the moment Iarnród Éireann are considering the submissions received during the most recent public consultation on DART+ West. I understand there are a couple of issues in particular that they need to consider further before they are ready to lodge any planning application, so it is expected that won’t happen until Q2 next year.

Secondly, there is the length of time a significant application like this will take in the statutory planning system. I cannot say definitively how long that will take, but past experience would suggest 12 -18 months is not unusual for a decision on an application of this nature.

The final part of the question relates to the business case for the project and whether it might be updated by the time planning approval is granted. In short, the business case must be updated as that is a requirement of the Public Spending Code. The business case submitted at Decision Gate 1is known as the Preliminary Business Case and it will be refined as the project moves through Decision Gate 2 – Pre-Tender Approvalbefore it reaches Decision Gate 3which is Final Business Case stage.


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