Metro linking Dublin Airport to city centre estimated to cost €9.5bn

Construction is expected to begin in 2025 and the route is expected to be completed between 2031-2034

The Metrolink route linking Swords and Dublin Airport to Dublin city centre is estimated to cost €9.5 billion and it could be 12 years away from completion.

The Cabinet on Monday signed-off on the National Transport Authority’s preliminary business case for the long-waited transport project which is being billed as the largest rail investment in Ireland since the 19th century.

Green Party leader and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan is due to announce details of the business case for the project on Tuesday.

Metrolink, a key part of the National Development Plan, would run from Swords to Charlemont Street via the airport, Ballymun and Glasnevin. Construction is expected to begin in 2025 and the route is expected to be completed between 2031-2034.

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A Government spokesman said it is too early to provide a precise project cost as Metrolink is yet to go through the planning and procurement stages. A final decision on proceeding with the project will not be taken until the precise costs are known, but what was described as “a credible, stress-tested indicative cost” put the price in the region of €9.5 billion.

Ministers have at this point agreed to issue a Public Spending Code approval to the authority to enable a planning application for the project to be lodged to An Bord Pleanála in September.

Separately, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has received approval for Children’s Health Ireland to enter into a contract for an electronic health record (EHR) system for the new national children’s hospital. It is expected the total implementation costs for this will be €86 million.

Mr Donnelly was also given approval to acquire more monkeypox vaccines through the European Commission. Ireland will now get the Jynneos jabs as well as another vaccine, Imvanex, which was previously secured by the Health Service Executive. As of June 30th, there had been 39 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ireland and more than 4,000 cases across Europe.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe received back for the text of legislation aimed at holding senior bankers to account for failings under their watch. He flagged the plans in recent weeks after it emerged that AIB and its EBS were hit with a record €96.7 million Central Bank fine for their roles in the tracker mortgage scandal.

The Cabinet signed off on the text of the Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Bill 2022 which is expected to go to the Oireachtas after the summer recess. A Government spokesman said the Bill aims “to provide for greater levels of accountability in the financial services sector, including to improve individual behaviour and overall culture”.

The spokesman said it “will allow individuals to be held accountable for their actions in a way that they haven’t been up until now”.

Meanwhile, a total of 90 rapid electric vehicle charging points are to be installed at sports facilities north and south of the Border under plans brought to Cabinet by Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Some €15 million of this funding will be spent on the rollout of the charging points. The Government has been liaising with the governing bodies of sports including Gaelic Games, rugby and football about the plan.

More than €70 million is set to be allocated to support various projects as part of the Shared Island initiative. The bulk of the funding — some €40 million — is to be allocated to Phase Three of the Ulster Canal project which will restore the waterway between Clones, Co Monaghan, and Upper Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh.

Mr Martin said the funding was part of an “ambitious” programme of work “which will bring communities, north and south, together to work on shared strategic priorities”.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times