Plan to extend Dart services to Drogheda within three years

Dart+ Coastal North will see electrified line connect commuter stations such as Donabate, Balbriggan and Skerries

The Coalition is to seek planning permission to extend Dart services further north as far as Drogheda in Co Louth.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan will brief Cabinet on Tuesday on plans to extend the electrified line, and with it Dart services, by another 37km beyond its current terminus at Malahide.

If the project achieves planning permission and is built out, it would also extend Dart services under the banner of Dart+ Coastal North to commuter stations such as Donabate, Balbriggan and Skerries.

Mr Ryan will tell Cabinet that the project will double passenger capacity between Malahide and Drogheda from about 4,400 people at peak hours to 8,800. Ministers will hear that the plan is to submit the applcation to An Bord Pleanála by July.


If approved, the project is expected to be completed within roughly three years. Mr Ryan is promising to boost rail services by 2026 with the roll-out of 65 new battery-electric Dart carriages.

The northern extension is part of the wider Dart+ programme, which envisages expanding the existing network from 53km to 150km, extending the line to Maynooth and the M3 Parkway to the east, and to Hazelhatch and Celbridge in the southwest.

Dart map

Mr Ryan is also expected to update Ministers on the Climate Action Plan, which is not expected to feature plans for a dairy farmer exit scheme, which had divided opinions in the farming community.

The scheme had been developed by the Department of Agriculture but, following further consultation, it has been dropped from the climate plan. Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue had given a strong indication that it would not proceed last month.

The update for Cabinet will contain new information on the annex of actions to the plan.

Elsewhere, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien will tell Cabinet colleagues it is too early to predict the final output in housing for the year, but that he believes an uplift seen in recent years will be sustained.

The Coalition continues to face affordability and access issues in the rental and home purchase markets, despite increased output in recent years.

Mr O’Brien will tell Cabinet that 60 per cent of housing delivered in the last decade was constructed in the period to the end of March this year, and outline that 11,568 homes that were either previously unfinished or had been disconnected from the ESB network for two years or more have been added to the housing stock in the same period.

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath will brief Cabinet on the annual report of Home Building Finance Ireland.

Late on Monday evening the indications were that the Cabinet would not discuss proposals to recognise Palestinian statehood, which have been promised before the end of the month. Ireland, along with a group of like-minded European countries, is expected to take the step – with some reports last week indicating it could come as soon as tomorrow.

However, sources said that there were still hopes more countries could sign up to the decision, with Norway also said to be considering the step. Irish sources said there had been some waning enthusiasm for the move among some EU governments, against the backdrop of European Parliament elections which have made some countries nervous over how the decision could be perceived by their electorates.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times