Thursday, 29 April 2021

Questions (19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

19. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport if no application for a rail order in respect of MetroLink will be made until such time as the feasibility study into the extension of the Metro to south-west areas of County Dublin has been completed. [22404/21]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

20. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport the reason the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland business case proposal should be considered in the implementation of the transport strategy when that strategy never contemplated a city centre terminus nor the possibility that such a terminus could be in place for decades. [22405/21]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

21. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport the reason the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland business case proposal should be considered in the implementation of the transport strategy when the clear outcome of the public consultation process was that there is currently no agreed southside solution to reach Sandyford, County Dublin. [22406/21]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

22. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport the criteria used by the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland to select Charlemont as the preferred MetroLink terminus. [22407/21]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

23. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport the studies carried out by the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland to substantiate the selection of Charlemont as the preferred MetroLink terminus location above other city centre locations such as St. Stephen’s Green or O’Connell Street. [22408/21]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

24. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport if the proposed construction of a tunnel beyond a city centre terminus to Beechwood and the proposed construction of a station at Charlemont effectively preordains a future decision to proceed with the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s preferred route of a segregated aboveground metro route along the Luas green line to Sandyford, County Dublin. [22409/21]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

25. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport the way in which expenditure on the partial construction of its preferred route of a city centre tunnel to Beechwood with a Charlemont station will be a valuable use of taxpayers’ money; and the way in which spending that money now will reduce the risk and cost of the ultimate Metro South project. [22410/21]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

26. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport the estimated total costs of constructing MetroLink south beyond the two high profile city centre stations (details supplied). [22411/21]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

27. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport the contractual arrangements in place between the National Transport Authority, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and a developer (details supplied) for the construction of the Charlemont station box; the capital cost of these works; when the developer is due to be refunded; the approval the NTA and TII have for incurring actual metro construction costs in advance of submitting the MetroLink business case and in advance of obtaining a railway order; if the NTA and TII requested the developer to apply for planning permission for the station box; the legal grounds on which the NTA and TII is of the view that a metro station box is not required to have planning permission granted as part of a railway order; and the legal grounds on which the NTA and TII is of the view that the Charlemont metro station box has obtained valid planning permission when it was included in the planning permission for an office development and it is not a requirement for or part of that office development. [22412/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 to 27, inclusive, together.

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  At a policy level the position is quite clear, the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016 to 2035 is the statutory transport strategy and that Strategy sets out a comprehensive range of interventions across all modes of transport in the GDA.

The Deputy will be aware that in relation to light rail infrastructure, and more particularly metro, the Strategy set out the intention to further develop the network over the twenty year period through the implementation of two specific metro projects described as:

- New Metro North - light rail link from the south city centre to Swords and serving Dublin Airport, operating in tunnel under Dublin City Centre, and providing a high frequency, high capacity service;

- Metro South - Luas Green Line Capacity Upgrade from the south city centre to Bride’s Glen, completing a full north-south high-capacity high-frequency cross-city rail corridor through the central spine of the Metropolitan Area;

The Deputy will also acknowledge that this is exactly what has been progressed since 2016 with the development of the MetroLink project which has been subject to extensive non-statutory public consultation over the last three years. The Deputy will also acknowledge the wealth of information which is available on the dedicated project website which outlines the development of the project since its initial consultation period and the changes that have taken place to the scope of the project and the rationale behind those changes.

I can confirm that MetroLink’s Preliminary Business Case has now been submitted to the Department and is being considered in line with the Public Spending Code. Once that consideration is complete I will bring the Preliminary Business Case to Government for its decision as is required by the Public Spending Code. If approved by Government, and subject to the completion of the necessary environmental and planning documentation, the project will then proceed to An Bord Pleanála for its decision.

In relation to the specific development at Charlemont referred to by the Deputy, those particular construction works relate to a private development being constructed by a private company pursuant to a planning permission granted by An Bord Pleanála. Details of that planning permission and conditions attached thereto are available to view on the website of An Bord Pleanála and operational issues as those referred to by the Deputy are a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

The Deputy is right to note that the NTA is currently reviewing the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area as it is required to do every six years under the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008, and indeed is the right thing to do given it is a twenty year rolling strategy. The review will allow for consideration of other potential projects such as possible new metro lines, over and above the metro lines proposed in the existing Strategy.

Noting the NTA's statutory responsibility in relation to public transport infrastructure development in the GDA, I have referred the operational aspects of the questions to them for their consideration and direct reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.