Na Fianna were refused an invite to MetroLink launch in Dublin Hotel

Gaelic enclave comprising schools, creche and sports and community ‘to be destroyed’

Young members of Na Fianna GAA Club at a MetroLink public information session in the Helix in DCU hosted by TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) earlier this month. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Na Fianna GAA Club in Glasnevin, which is set to lose its premises and playing pitches to the building of Dublin’s MetroLink, was refused access to the launch of the plan in the Conrad Hotel last month.

The club said when it learned of the plan to commandeer its grounds for a period of six years “it fell to us to tell our nearest neighbours”, two Irish Language schools, 48 hours before the public launch.

Na Fianna chairman Cormac Ó Donnchú told the Oireachtas committee on transport it had asked for an invite to the launch but was refused. He said the club had asked for a longer public consultation and “some kind of resources” to understand the implications of the €3 billion plan, but all was refused.

He believed the metro developers thought the issue was simply “relocating a couple of pitches and a sports club”, he said. But he told TDs and Senators the club had almost 3,000 “active participants,” catered for 166 teams, shared facilities with Home Farm FC and was home to community events from line dancing to funeral gatherings.


Irish-language community

The transport committee also heard from principals of Scoil Mobhí primary school and Scoil Chaitríona secondary school, which sit alongside the sports grounds. Marcella Nic Niallaigh for Scoil Mobhí said the heart of “a unique Irish language community” would be “torn out” and “a community will be destroyed” by the development. Scoil Chaitríona secondary school principal Carmel de Grae said the proposal to locate the tunnel boring site within five metres of the school would render the school inoperable.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland chief executive Michael Nolan said the authority recognised the importance of the facilities both “to the clubs themselves and to the wider community”. He said the authority would be in a position to discuss possible proposals to lessen the impact on the clubs. But he said the public consultation process was ongoing and “therefore it would not be appropriate to discuss possible alternative proposals here today”.

Hugh Cregan of the National Transport Authority said more then 100 alternative routes had been assessed and there was a cost associated with each. He said options for specific works or stations had each numbered “in tens”.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist