Businesses affected by Luas line works feel ‘abandoned’

Car parks highlight ‘confusing and unacceptable’ re-routing of traffic

A number of Dublin city centre business owners are feeling “abandoned” due to Luas line works amid accusations that road closures could provide a “devastating blow” to revenues, new records have shown.

Documents obtained by The Irish Times show Dublin City Council has received complaints from a cross-section of groups and individuals in relation to the €386 million project, ranging from sleepless students to an injured cyclist who said works at College Green compromised their safety.

However, the primary concern of various State bodies involved in the Luas link-up between Stephen’s Green and O’Connell Street has been to appease companies who said the construction activities would cause a material impact on trade and profits.

"We are concerned that the Fleet Street car park could lose up to 50 per cent or more of its regular business," said a representative from Park Rite when protesting over the loss of access from Westmoreland Street due to works in February.

“This would be a devastating blow to this business. Revenues lost will never be recovered,” it said in an email, which was preceded last October by similar protestations from rival company Q-Park over a “confusing and unacceptable” month-long re-routing of traffic access outside its car park near Molesworth Street.

Others questioned the lack of a compensation package to help businesses whose trade may have been impacted on by the works.

There was also consternation ahead of St Patrick's Day with the director of souvenir chain Carroll's Irish Gifts bemoaning the extension of road closures around O'Connell Street and the lack of a "proper traffic management plan".

“We can’t run a business like this and we feel we are being abandoned. The RPA (Railway Procurement Agency) will not be getting our support the next time unless there’s a written agreement and a commitment to working with the business.”

Speaking to The Irish Times, the CEO of businesses representative group Dublin Town said the project is going "better than expected" from their point of view.

"They're a very large scale of works, and I'm not saying that there isn't disruption, there obviously is disruption, but I think it's been managed in the best way that all the parties can. It has worked because the footfall is going in the right direction," said Richard Guiney.