Fianna Fáil criticises Government’s handling of MetroLink

National Transport Authority has confirmed the metro will terminate at Charlemont

Fianna Fáil has criticised the Government's handling of large infrastructural projects following its decision to shelve the proposed southside route of MetroLink.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) on Tuesday confirmed the metro, which had been due to run from Swords to Sandyford, will terminate at Charlemont, north of Ranelagh, where it meets the Luas Green line.

Fianna Fáil spokesman for transport Robert Troy said while he was "relieved" the Government ha taken on board the views of the communities affected, there were nonetheless "serious concerns" over Government's handling of the matter.

“Over €179 million has been spent on this project already, €25 million of which was spent buying up properties that will not even be needed by the Metro’s construction,” he said.

“Minister Ross charged two state transport bodies with researching and developing the best possible routes for this project, as well as dozens of private consultants, but he was not able to find a route that was even minimally acceptable to people living along it.

“At the end of the day, this redesign will cost more money in terms of design and planning work. It will delay this much-needed project by months, if not years. It is another fine example of the government allowing major projects to run over budget with delays.”

Green Party transport spokesman Ciarán Cuffe said the move by the Government was “a body blow to those who want a dramatic improvement in public transport in Dublin”.

“Putting half of the MetroLink on the long finger is the wrong decision,” he said. “This project should be the spine along which the city can develop over the next 50 years.

“If we are serious about tackling climate change we need MetroLink now, as well as other key projects that have been put on the back-burner.”

Fingal County Council chief executive Paul Reid meanwhile welcomed the announcement. "Fingal is the top county from which workers flow into Dublin City and 72 per cent of those journeys are made by car," he said.

“The longer we go without a Metro system, the longer the roads into and out of Dublin City will remain clogged up and that will inhibit the development of Fingal.”

Business group Dublin Chamber said the decision to drop the southside element of the MetroLink project was “not ideal”, but makes sense in order to move the project along.

“The NTA’s decision to alter this aspect of the plan is understandable and necessary in order to push the project forward,” said a spokesman.

“The revised route for MetroLink, which will see the Metro line stop at Charlemont, is very similar to the previous Metro North plan – a plan which Dublin Chamber fully supported.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he would be open to running the MetroLink rail line to UCD and Sandyford, following the decision to shelve the proposed southside route of the line. UCD president Andrew J Deeks has said he would be support in such a move.

“I support the decision of the NTA not to run the southern branch of the Metro along the Luas Green Line, and I strongly endorse the Taoiseach’s suggestion that an alternative route via UCD to Sandyford be seriously considered,” he said.

“Such a route would allow the Metrolink to connect all the Dublin universities together, and also connect them with some of our major commercial and innovation hubs and the airport, enabling the development of Dublin as a world-class innovation city to rival Boston.”