Dublin Metrolink: project director to be paid €550,000 per year

Former head of New Zealand transport project to join planned metro system

Dublin metrolink: Sean Sweeney former chief cxecutive officer of City Rail Link will oversee implementation of metro in capital

The project director appointed to oversee the planned Dublin metro system is to be paid €550,000 per year under a deal approved by the Government.

Sean Sweeney, who is from New Zealand, will also receive up to €30,000 in relocation expenses while private health insurance cover and a leased car will also be provided.

The Department of Transport said the appointment was made following an international recruitment competition. It said a comprehensive benchmarking exercise carried out into pay into such roles in the sector found that average remuneration was more than €623,000.

It said the appointment of Mr Sweeney represented another significant milestone for the MetroLink project in Dublin.


The department said Mr Sweeney had a proven track record of success more than three decades in leadership roles on large infrastructure projects in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

It said he was “an expert in the procurement and delivery of large capital works and tunnelling”.

“More recently, he was the chief executive officer of City Rail Link, a transformative underground rail link in Auckland’s city centre and New Zealand’s largest-ever transport infrastructure project. ”

The Department of Transport said it was recognised before the recruitment process that there would only be a small group of professionals across the globe with the expertise to deliver MetroLink.

Estimated €450m expected to have been spent on metro projects before Metrolink constructionOpens in new window ]

“Given the specific expertise and experience required for this transformational project, the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform sanctioned a base salary of €550,000 for the role. This is below the mean equivalent rate for this level of expertise globally”, it said.

The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said:

“Recruiting a world-recognised Project Director with a track record of getting massive infrastructural projects over the line is another important step in ensuring that this time MetroLink will be delivered. We now have one of the best people in the world on our team to get the job done.

“This transformational project is currently before planning. Once we get through the planning process, I am keen for us to go full tilt to get construction under way so that we meet our milestones and deliver a world-class metro system as quickly as possible.

“This important recruitment is not just about getting this project over the line in the next decade, it’s about ensuring that we have a transport system that is fit for purpose for decades to come.”

The chief executive of the National Transport Authority Anne Graham said the appointment represented “a significant step in this crucial project and is a clear indication that progress is being made”.

Speaking following his appointment on Tuesday, Mr Sweeney said his late father had been born and raised in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

“He would be thrilled and immensely proud, as I am, to know his son was going back to lead this major project for Dublin. MetroLink is a once-in-a-generation project that will transform the public transport system in the capital city and I am delighted and honoured to have been selected to spearhead its delivery.”

Mr Sweeney will be employed by Transport Infrastructure Ireland on a fixed-purpose contract.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent