Metrolink station, not escape shaft, should be placed in north Dublin park, hearing told

Residents call for Collins Avenue station to be moved from church to park

A Metrolink fire and emergency escape shaft should not be located in a north Dublin public park, but rather a nearby station should be relocated there instead, An Bord Pleanála’s hearing into the €9.5 billion rail line has been told.

Residents living in the vicinity of the proposed Collins Avenue station on Ballymun Road have called for the station to be moved into Albert College Park beside the DCU campus, to replace a tunnel escape shaft planned for the park.

The Collins Avenue station is proposed for an area in front of Our Lady of Victories Church on Ballymun Road, about 500m from the park. The church, and schools on the church campus, have told the board in written submissions the station is in the wrong location.

The owner of a protected structure on Ballymun Road, whose house would be the closest residence to the shaft, told the hearing its construction would cause great disruption but “yields nothing of benefit” to local residents.


The shaft would be used to allow passengers to escape the underground line in an emergency and would also provide fire brigade access to the tunnel.

Louise Boughton, of 114 Ballymun Road, an early 1930s house and one of the few modernist houses on the Record of Protected Structures, told the hearing that “due cognisance” had not been taken of the protected status of her home, designed by Harold Greenwood, a protégé of Arts and Crafts architect Edwin Lutyens.

Metrolink Dublin Olivia Kelly feature

Ms Boughton said she had serious concerns in relation to the tunnelling under her home for the metro line, and the construction of the shaft so close to the building, which had delicate single pane windows.

While the shaft was to be located in the southwest corner of the park, closest to her home, a station could be located at a midway point in the park, further from her house and other homes.

“Thousands of people will be affected by the construction [of the shaft] for 63 months,” she said, and would be “denied amenity of the park” and endure “dust, noise and vibration for that length of time”.

“A station in Albert College Park avoids the need for an intervention shaft,” she said. “If we have to endure the level of disruption of an intervention shaft, we want a station instead.”

The Griffith Avenue & District Residents Association told the hearing there had been insufficient consultation on the shaft, which involved “giving away a large section of Albert College Park which will be permanently sterilised”, the group’s chairwoman Una Caulfield said.

Representatives of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the State body with responsibility for Metrolink, said the shaft was necessary because of the long distance between the Collins Avenue and Griffith Park Stations.

Neil Cowie of Jacobs Engineering, representing TII, said the location of the shaft in the southwest of Albert College Park was “the only location to put the intervention shaft to meet our safety requirements”.

The site at Our Lady of Victories campus was the best location for the Collins Avenue station. “We do not want to move the station. The current proposed location outside the church is the best location for connectivity and to meet the needs of the project,” he said.

Locating the station in Albert College Park would have “a much greater impact permanently and during construction” than the shaft.

“There is a significant difference in scale between station and intervention shaft. There would need to be a station plaza ... that would take out more of the trees and more of the existing park.”

Our Lady of Victories Church and schools made written submissions to the board opposing the location of the station on their campus and were due to make submissions at the hearing on Thursday.

However, legal representatives told the board they were engaged in negotiations with TII and wished to defer their appearance.

Several residents and residents’ groups from near the proposed Collins Avenue station, including Albert College Residents Association and Ballymun Road North Residents Associations, and Hampstead Residents CLG are also seeking the station to be moved from the church campus to the park.

The hearing continues on Monday.

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Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times