Metro North project questioned - report

Wed, Jun 10, 2009, 01:00

THE CONSTRUCTION of Dublin’s controversial Metro North rail system will not guarantee maximum accessibility to Dublin airport.

Moreover, it will not ensure the airport’s future as a vital travel hub, a new planning report argues.

A Spatial Vision for Dublin was published yesterday at the Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club, by members of the Dublin City Business Association, which commissioned the report, and author Hendrik van der Kamp.

Although Metro North has been touted by the Government as central to Dublin’s economic development, speculation intensified at the beginning of the year that the project would be shelved due to an estimated cost of some €5 billion.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has proposed deferring the project and prioritising smaller, more labour-intensive construction initiatives.

The report uses the example of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, which it says, like Dublin airport, was for a long time poorly served by public transport, relying almost solely on bus connections to Amsterdam and other cities across the Netherlands.

It found that the deliberate effort to create a working main network railway station in the airport, rather than a mere shuttle rail service to and from the city centre, proved a huge success.

The report also claims that Dublin should not be satisfied with simply connecting the airport with the city centre, as mainline rail access has proven a model of success across Europe.

“It may be of benefit to see Belfast, Dublin and Shannon connected together through a single high-speed railway line, which would link up the three major airports in the country,” Mr van der Kamp. said. “It would provide a . . . fast connection to the west of Ireland, and Galway could be connected to this via the Western Rail Corridor.”