‘Not the truth’ that the MetroLink is delayed by 10 years, Taoiseach insists

A draft strategy from the National Transport Authority said the project will not be delivered until the 2030s compared with a previous target of 2027.
‘Not the truth’ that the MetroLink is delayed by 10 years, Taoiseach insists

By James Ward, PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said it is not true that the MetroLink has been delayed by 10 years, and vowed that the project will be built.

A draft strategy from the National Transport Authority (NTA) this week showed the proposed 19km railway service between Swords, Dublin Airport and Dublin city centre will not now be completed until the 2030s.

The previous version of the plan set the completion date as 2027.

Mr Martin told the Dáil that funding for the project provided in the National Development Plan (NDP) is the “ultimate guarantor that we will get MetroLink built”, with a planning application set to be submitted next year.

Paddy Smith commemoration
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the MetroLink project will be built (Brian Lawless/PA)

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, he said: “This idea that has kind of been spun out there, that somehow it has been shelved for 10 years, is just not the truth.

“It’s going to planning in early 2022. It has to go through public spending codes and the various approvals.

“I don’t think anybody here would expect otherwise.

“The fact that the NDP has a 10-year envelope and has a 10-year framework, I think, is the ultimate guarantor that we will get MetroLink built.

“That is our determination as a Government.

“So, far from shelving anything, work is proceeding at pace to get the MetroLink going in terms of all of the necessary decisions that need to be taken.”

Mr Martin said the Government’s focus is getting the three key projects of the NTA strategy – Bus Connects, Dart Plus and MetroLink – approved by Cabinet under public spending codes, with planning applications to be submitted in early 2022.

Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shorthall accused the Taoiseach of “misrepresenting” what had been announced in the strategy.

She said: “Taoiseach, we have been told that Dart Plus will not happen, cannot happen until the 2040s, post-2042.

“We know about MetroLink, in spite of the fact that it has been promised for more than 20 years, we were promised a rail link for more than 30 years, that nothing will happen in relation to the opening of Metro until at least post-2031.

“So that’s another 10 years.

“So, Taoiseach, I’m asking you, what are you saying to the people of the north side of Dublin in relation to the gridlock that they now encounter in trying to go about their daily business?

“What will happen to improve that situation over the next 10 years?

“Are there any grounds for hope that anything will change on the north side of Dublin in the next 10 years?”

 

Mr Martin replied that the Government is determined to progress the three projects, but must go through the proper planning processes.

“The bottom line is this – there are planning processes we have to get through,” he said.

“No-one in here can determine the length of time that would be involved in getting over timeframes and challenges and so on that inevitably happen with projects as large as this.

“But what has been provided is the funding to underpin it, the National Development Plan.

“The (Transport) Minister (Eamon Ryan) is very determined to progress these three key elements of the GDA strategy.”

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