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Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (148)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


148. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport the timeframe for Metro North; when the railway order for same is expected to be issued; the reason for the delay in the delivery of same to date; if the service will be built in tandem with Metro South; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53592/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

MetroLink is likely the largest ever public investment project in the history of the State. It faces imminent and important milestones in the coming months and these milestones will determine its progress in the coming years.

Firstly, there is Government’s approval of the Preliminary Business Case and secondly there is the submission of a Railway Order application to An Bord Pleanála. On that first milestone, my Department has received draft Preliminary Business Cases for MetroLink. This represents Decision Gate 1 under the Public Spending Code and the Preliminary Business Case is currently under review.

For major projects, like MetroLink, the Public Spending Code requires a Government decision and I expect to seek such a Government decision in the near future. If approved by Government, that will allow MetroLink to move into the statutory planning system, subject to the completion of the necessary planning and environmental documentation.

The second impending milestone is the submission of Railway Order applications for MetroLink. That application requires the finalisation of an extensive set of documentation, including environmental impact assessment reports, and that work is ongoing in relation to this project.

I understand that an extensive body of work remains in relation to finalising the preliminary design, completing the required environmental impact assessment reports and closing out property referencing issues. This should be completed during Q1 next year and, subject to the Government decision mentioned above, the project will then be ready to seek planning permission.

An actual construction start date will ultimately be determined by the planning process and Government approval to proceed to construction at that time.

In relation to upgrading capacity on the Luas Green Line, the Deputy will welcome this year's completion of the Luas Green Line Capacity Enhancement Project which has significantly increased capacity through the extension of the original 26 trams and the purchase of 8 additional 55metre long trams. Future capacity increases over the medium term will be considered in the context of the revised Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area which will shortly be published for public consultation.

I trust this clarifies the current position.