Alexandra College objects to MetroLink plan to ‘take land’

Fee-paying Dublin school says proposed project would cut off critical access

One of the most expensive fee-paying schools in the State has said it will resist attempts to close its entrances and “take land” under the MetroLink plan for Dublin.

Alexandra College, which is located in Milltown, south Dublin, has taken issue with elements of the plan which its says would close off access via two rear entrances "of critical importance" to the operation of the school.

In a filing on the lobbying register, a consultancy firm hired by the college said it had made a submission to a consultation on MetroLink being run by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), and had also sent a letter on the topic to Dublin Bay South TD and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.

Fees for the school range from €7,386 a year for a day pupil up to almost €20,000 a year for an international seven-day boarding student.

Alexandra College hired planning consultancy Tom Phillips + Associates to prepare its submission on the MetroLink project, a proposed 26km urban railway service intended to run between Swords and Sandyford.

The planning firm has previously worked on high-profile projects including the refurbishment of the former Ulster Bank headquarters on George's Quay, and the Irish Life plaza near the IFSC.

According to the submission, two rear entrances to the college from Richmond Avenue South would be closed under the TII plan.

“The college wants to resist all attempts to close the entrances and/or take land including buildings,” the planners say.

The entrances would be closed “regardless of the outcome of the various optioneering exercises,” the submission states.

Asked about its concerns, Alexandra College said it could not comment on its opposition to MetroLink.

Other opposition

The public transport plan has come up against significant opposition on both sides of the Liffey.

Plans to build a station near the Na Fianna GAA club on the northside were abandoned after it transpired that the club would have to give up land to be used as a construction depot for up to six years.

Proposals to close roads around the Beechwood Luas stop on the southside, where it is planned the metro will emerge from its underground tunnel, have also been strenuously resisted by residents’ groups who argue it would cause commuting chaos and split communities.

The addition of the high-speed, driverless MetroLink to the tracks where the Luas Green Line currently runs would also impose a “Berlin Wall” on communities, according to the Rethink MetroLink advocacy group.

The group says a wall 4m in height would segregate areas along the route, and it argues that the line should be kept underground on the southside until it has passed residential areas, as is the plan for the north of the city.

Rethink MetroLink has said that the Luas Green Line could be closed for between nine months and two years to facilitate construction work.

MetroLink is also facing opposition in the city centre, where a group of residents in the College Gate apartment block on Townsend Street are fighting against the proposed demolition of their building, and the Dublin City Council Markievicz leisure centre underneath the apartments.