Homeowners accuse Metrolink body of being ‘economical with the truth’ about effects of tunnelling

Noise expert says tunnel machine noise akin to ‘washing machine’ but residents say they have had little contact with Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Homeowners living in an architectural conservation area of Glasnevin have accused Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) of being “economical with the truth” and dismissive of concerns about the effect the Metrolink rail line will have on their historic homes.

Residents of Victorian and Edwardian houses in the Prospect Architectural Conservation Area best known for Kavanagh’s Gravediggers pub on Prospect Square, are concerned about tunnelling under their homes and claim consultation with TII has been inadequate.

The 18.8km line is planned to 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, with 16 stations along the route.

Lorraine Rooney, who lives in St Teresa’s Place, just off Prospect Square, said residents had been presented with “a fantasy” computer-generated image of the proposed station and had little contact with TII. “If your neighbour was building an extension you would have more detailed conversation about that small construction job than we are having about a mega building project,” she said.


Anne Meehan, who also lives in the conservation area, said since public consultation began in 2018, TII had been “at best elusive, dismissive, economic with facts” and had been “drip-feeding stakeholders”.

Aidan Foley, Metrolink project director, said TII would “never intentionally withhold information from the public”. TII had “tried to be as open and transparent as possible throughout this scheme” he said.

Lesley Hewson another local resident said the level of noise and vibration from the tunnel boring machine, passing under the houses during construction, was difficult to imagine.

Rick Methold, a noise and vibration expert for TII, said the tunnel boring machine was scheduled to reach the area in the fourth year of the project, with disruption “at its worst” for two to three days. The noise was often described as being “like a washing machine on full spin cycle in the room next door” but he said he considered it to be “slightly meatier than that”.

A pharmacist, whose shop is opposite the Mater hospital on Berkeley Road said he “might as well be in the hole” rather than above it, when the underground station is being built.

A 4m high hoarding in front of Brendan Flanagan’s pharmacy at 18 Berkeley Road will ensure the premises is “obscured completely” from customers, he said. The hoarding will block the footpath to the north of the building and will effectively put the shop “in a cul de sac”.

Many of Mr Flanagan’s customers were elderly, he said, and would be deterred from using his service.

“It takes years to generate goodwill in a pharmacy and develop customers’ loyalty,” he said. “There will inevitably be a downturn in my business with increased risk of business failure.”

While he supported the concept of the Metrolink the constriction phase “represents a direct threat to my livelihood and that of the people I employ”.

Aidan Foley said TII “fully recognises the impact construction site is going not have on your business”. However, he said the metro would have “huge benefits for your business when it opens”. TII would work with Mr Flanagan to include appropriate signage on the hoarding to advertise the pharmacy to “try to minimise the impacts” on his business, Mr Foley said.

Breda Scully, who lived all her life in Phibsborough, urged the board not to allow the Mater station to be located in the Four Masters Memorial Park in front of the hospital.

The park was a “green oasis” and using it for the station would represent a “grievous loss to our community” while the construction would cause “torment and distress to those in its vicinity”. She suggested that other local sites be considered such as Mountjoy Prison which had “an expanse of land” around it.

Mr Foley said the park “won’t be lost” and while trees would be removed, the park would be reinstated after the construction works.

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Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times