Inquiry report supports city-centre Luas line


The report of the public inquiry into the Luas line from Tallaght to Middle Abbey Street has concluded that the proposal should go ahead, subject to 21 conditions.

The report, the recommendations of the inquiry inspector, Judge Sean O'Leary, was published yesterday by the Minister for Public Enterprise, Ms O'Rourke. The inquiry into the 14 km line between Tallaght and Middle Abbey Street sat in Dublin for 20 days up to December 1st.

Concluding that the proposed light rail transit (LRT) route would "without reservation" make a worthwhile contribution towards meeting transport needs in the metropolitan area, Judge O'Leary nevertheless laid down strict recommendations for the Minister to make her approval of the scheme subject to conditions being met by the applicant, CIE.

These conditions relate to CIE reaching agreement with Dublin Corporation and South Dublin County Council on the specific design of pedestrian and vehicular bridges, the design of the tram depot adjacent to the Naas Road/M50 interchange, and the monitoring of noise levels from the tram depot.

The conditions also relate to landscaping of open spaces and the maintenance of the linear park between Griffith Bridge and the proposed Fatima stop. Agreement must also be secured from the National Roads Authority (NRA) on the realignment of junctions, particularly in relation to the junction of Sylvan Drive and Walkinstown Road.

The inspector cited the "depth of feeling and sense of loss" which would be suffered by residents of Arran Quay Terrace, where houses would be demolished, and he recommended conditions governing the demolition and reconstruction of houses on Arran Quay and the relocation of residents in the area, should they desire.

In the city section of the route, the inspector recommended conditions on the construction of the line at Middle Abbey Street to facilitate deliveries and access for businesses in the Jervis Street area. These conditions included the setting up of a traffic management committee comprising members of the Garda, local public representatives and business, as well as trade union interests.

On this he pointed out: "The construction impact in this area could be very serious indeed if CIE, the utilities, the statutory bodies and those working in the area do not co-operate fully in the implementation of a structured plan for the construction period".

In the long term, the arrival of LRT would simply bring forward the day when limited access only was allowed in the city centre for cars, in common with other European cities. Judge O'Leary said there was no reason to suppose the business of the markets area of the city would be greatly disturbed by LRT passing through it.

On the Ballymount archaeological complex, a prehistoric site with parallels to the Boyne Valley in Co Meath, Judge O'Leary concluded that, as permission would be needed from Duchas before work could start here, there was little point in him duplicating any conditions the body might make.

However, in relation to alternative schemes proposed at the inquiry the inspector said "many groups such as the Unified Proposal, Dublin 15 Community Council, Luttrellstown Wood Residents' Association, Lucan/ Clondalkin Association of Residents' Associations and others presented a vision of the Dublin metropolitan area which was very informative "even though to some extent outside the scope of this rather limited inquiry".