Greens want Metro extended to Beechwood

Thu, Oct 19, 2006, 01:00

The Green Party has recommended that the proposed Metro route be extended below the Luas Green line to Beechwood to solve the problem of excess demand on this route.

The route of the Metro North was published today by the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) and the Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen.

It links Stephen's Green with Lissenhall, north of Swords, with 15 stops and will able to carry 20,000 passengers an hour. Trains will run every four minutes at peak time and can increase to one every 90 seconds if required.

The route chosen by the RPA will see the Metro travel under the Liffey to serve O'Connell Street , the Mater Hospital, Dublin City University, Griffith Avenue, Ballymun, the airport and on through Swords to Lissenhall.

But Eamon Ryan, Green Party transport spokesman, said the Metro should also be extended to Donabate, due to the rapid expansion of that area. He is also calling for the Stephen's Green station to be built on the existing road space on the west or south side of the square to avoid disturbance to the green itself.

In the absence of even a ballpark costing, the whole project has a massive credibility gap
Fine Gael's Transport spokeswoman, Olivia Mitchell

"Our aim should be to make Dublin the best serviced capital city in the world. That vision requires us to have a first-class public transport system. The success of Luas shows that the people in Dublin are more than willing to get out of their cars," he said.

Ballymun Regeneration Limited, the team charged with redeveloping the north Dublin estate, said it was a further boost to an area already being improved by the biggest physical, economic and social regeneration programme in any European city.

Ciaran Murray, managing director of the body, said: "The provision of the Metro link will further integrate the Ballymun area with the social and economic life of the city and the wider Dublin region."

Chambers Ireland noted that workers in Dublin lost nine hours a month due to traffic congestion last year, and it

urged the RPA to ensure work started soon.

Spokesman Dan Loughrey said: "It seems foolhardy to wait until 2009 to commence work on this line. The Spanish government built a metro in three years, we should be able to do the same and not wait until 2012 for it to be completed."

Fine Gael transport spokeswoman Olivia Mitchell said the Minister's refusal to give a cost was tantamount to writing a blank cheque with taxpayers' money.

"Progress towards a high-speed, high-capacity rail spine for Dublin, however late, is welcome. However, in the absence of even a ballpark costing, the whole project has a massive credibility gap.

"This is the single largest infrastructural project undertaken in this State in terms of its cost and timescale, and also in terms of disruption to the capital city.

"The last costing estimate was done in 2003, and various figures ranging from €1 billion to €5 billion have been touted. We have no idea what the final cost will be, but by the time the metro has been completed the cost could be anything up to €15 billion," Ms Mitchell said.

"Minister Cullen is being disingenuous when he claims that having a budget would influence the price. In this, as in every other public project, it is the competitive tendering system which determines the price," she said.

Tom Morrissey, Progressive Democrats transport spokesman, said: "Twenty-four-hour tunnelling is the way forward for such projects because it will reduce costs and ensure that this essential work is completed on time and in budget."