Metrolink delays ‘diminish quality of life’ in north Dublin every year it’s not built, hearing told

Housing ‘explosion’ was predicated on construction of metro, with congestion and pollution in its absence

The quality of life of north county Dublin residents is “diminishing every year” Metrolink remains unbuilt, Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has told An Bord Pleanála’s hearing on the €9.5 billion rail line.

The 18.8km line, due to be completed by 2035, will run from north of Swords to Dublin Airport, then on to Ballymun, Glasnevin, O’Connell Street and St Stephen’s Green before terminating at Charlemont Street, with 16 stations along the route.

“The lack of the long-promised metro has resulted in increased congestion, pollution and a lower quality of life for the people of North County Dublin,” Ms Clifford Lee said.

There had been a focus on the benefits of the line for Swords, she said, but these benefits would extend across the north of Dublin which had seen an “explosion” in population over the last 30 years, with thousands of more homes in the pipeline.


“Put simply, North County Dublin is absorbing the housing needs of Dublin and we need and deserve better infrastructure to make our communities liveable now and into the future. The current public transport infrastructure is not even sufficient today to serve the towns and villages of North County Dublin,” she said.

“Planning permission has been granted for thousands of houses on the basis that the metro will be delivered. However, for too long, the metro has been a pipe dream and the quality of life of those of us depending on it has been diminishing every year.”

Why Dublin's Metro is still a decade away - at least

Listen | 18:04
On Monday, An Bord Pleanála met for its first hearing in 15 years into Dublin’s planned underground rail line. The €9.5 billion MetroLink, as it is now known, has been put on hold numerous times since it was first announced as the Metro West plan in 2005.The proposed underground line would run from north of Swords to Dublin Airport, then on to Ballymun, Glasnevin, O’Connell Street and St Stephen’s Green before terminating at Charlemont Street, with 16 stations in all.Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said he believes the long-awaited MetroLink will be granted planning permission before the end of this year and that construction will be completed by the early 2030s.Many Dubliners are worried about how the construction of this line, particularly close to the city centre, will disrupt their homes and livelihoods.However, as one of the only major cities in Europe without an underground transport system, Metrolink could be transformative for Dublin city and its residents in the long term, says Irish Times Dublin editor Olivia Kelly, who joins today’s episode of In the News.Presented by Sorcha Pollak. Produced by Declan Conlon.

Commuters to the city were competing with the 30 million passengers coming through Dublin Airport every year. “The roads around Dublin Airport are the same roads we use to get to work, school and college. They are congested and polluted,” she said. “The delivery of the metro will allow Dublin Airport operate to its capacity and reduce the impact on the local community by taking cars off the roads and fumes from the air we breathe,” she said.

Residents and businesses near the start of the line raised concerns about disruption from the construction phase. Thomas Lowndes of the Seatown Villas Residents group said residents were particularly worried about construction noise, and the mitigation measures for that noise which included he noted “acoustic screening 4m high, 10m away from the houses – as high as the eaves of a two-storey house”. These houses “will be in the shade for half the day for four years,” he said. Noise and the loss of green space for a construction compound, was also raised by the Estuary Court Residents Association.

Dr Ronan Hallissey representing Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) the State body with responsibility for Metrolink, said it was very conscious of the effect of noise on residents and mitigation measures had been identified such as the use of acoustic barriers. “We are looking at the possibility of using transparent barriers” to allow more light into homes he said.

Issues of noise and vibration were also a concern for O’Scanaill Veterinary Hospital in Swords. Diarmuid Healy an engineer representing the vet’s practice said there would be “construction work taking place potentially millimetres from their building”. Dogs and cats were particularly sensitive to noise and vibration, and their owners can be “equally sensitive” and may “walk away” from the practice if they see a “a construction site surrounding” it.

Jennifer Harmon, airborne noise specialist, for TII said the practice had been “fully assessed for all potential airborne noise impacts” and “the sensitivity of the facility” was acknowledge. “Quite a significant range of measures” would be put in place to mitigate its effects including 4m high hoarding, she said.

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Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times