Metro North plan focuses on developing areas along line

New agency expected to manage projects aimed at increasing housing density in Dublin

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says the Project Ireland 2040 plan will see an extra 200,000 people living in rural Ireland by 2040.


A revised Metro North is being lined up by the Government as the key to unlock swathes of Dublin for new developments in order to increase the density of housing around the capital.

A new approach to the multibillion rail line is set to be announced as part of the 10-year capital development plan and accompanying national planning framework.

Sources disclosed that the focus of the new line would be opening up land in underdeveloped areas of north Dublin.

A new office, the National Regeneration and Development Agency, will also be established to ensure that land is strategically developed across the country. Of particular focus for the new agency will be so-called “brownfield” sites, which were previously used for industrial or commercial purposes, and sites held by State agencies and local authorities.

Although it is not clear if the Government plans, to be published on Friday, will specifically link the new agency to Metro North, a number of informed sources said one of its key tasks would be to manage development along the rail line.

The Metro is not about the airport,' said one source. 'This is about increasing density around Dublin'

It is claimed this will ensure that new developments take place along the line, which will run from the city centre, via Dublin Airport, to north of Swords.

The latest version of the Metro North project will see more of the line run underground than the last time it was revised in 2015 by then minister for transport Paschal Donohoe, when the subterranean element of the 17km route was cut back on cost grounds.

However, it is now expected the line will be underground for longer, from the city centre to Ballymun or Santry, to allow for housing developments in these areas.

“The Metro is not about the airport,” said one source. “This is about increasing density around Dublin.”

Swords and its environs are also earmarked for significant residential development.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Mr Donohoe – both former transport ministers – believe the Metro will spur the development of housing in north Dublin.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is understood to be drawing up the new agency, which will initially focus on publicly-owned land.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil yesterday the overall plan would increase the density of Dublin to avoid city sprawl.