Community pledges ‘major fight’ against Markievicz pool and apartments demolition
Townsend Street block demolition proposed for Metrolink
Owner-occupiers, tenants and landlords at the College Gate apartment complex have formed the Save College Gate group in an attempt to prevent the demolition of their homes. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Transport authorities will face a “major fight” if they persist with plans to demolish a Dublin city centre swimming pool and apartment block to make way for the MetroLink rail line, a public meeting has heard.
The Markievicz Leisure Centre on Townsend Street, which was refurbished by Dublin City Council two years ago at a cost of more than €1 million, has been earmarked for acquisition and demolition for the construction of an underground station for the €3 billion line.
College Gate, a complex of 70 apartments above the leisure centre, would also require demolition under the plans to provide a new transport “hub” next to Tara Street station for the line due to run from Swords to Sandyford by 2027.
UCD sociologist Kieran Allen said the area was being “comercialised” and “gentrified” at the expense of social services.
“On one hand we have a Taoiseach who says you should get up early in the morning and get to the gym, and stay healthy, yet this plan would see one of just four leisure centres in the city demolished,” Mr Allen told the meeting organised by People Before Profit in Liberty Hall on Thursday. “We live in a city where basic facilities are not available to you.”
If 70 houses were scheduled for demolition in Dalkey or Ranelagh “the place would be up in arms”, Mr Allen said.
“It is just astonishing in a city having a housing crisis that you would even consider demolishing 70 apartments in the centre of the city.”
College Gate resident Gordon Rose said he was “encouraged” that other communities who were due to be affected by the line had been given assurances alternatives could be found.
The metro route announced last March also involved the use of Na Fianna GAA club pitches and adjoining school pitches on Mobhi Road in Glasnevin for a major construction site, and the closure of the road linking Rathmines and Ranelagh at Dunville Avenue in south Dublin to remove a level crossing.
However, following representations from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in relation to the GAA lands and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy over the Dunville Avenue closure, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the National Transport Authority (NTA) agreed to review the route.
“Originally NTA and TII wouldn’t even agree to meet us. Now they have met us and they say they are looking at alternatives,” Mr Rose said.
Owner-occupiers, tenants and landlords at the apartment complex have formed the Save College Gate group in an attempt to prevent the demolition of their homes. Mr Rose said there were alternative sites available in the area which could be used for construction of the underground station, including the site of the recently demolished Apollo House on Tara Street.
More than 700 signatures have so far been added to an online petition against the demolition.
The transport authorities are to publish a revised route of the line next year.