I think it important to set out what are two different processes currently underway both of which relate to the potential future development of metro in Dublin.
Firstly, we have the project known as MetroLink. This is a project set out in the existing, statutory, Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016 to 2036 and one which has been subject to extensive, non-statutory public consultation over the last 3 years. This project has now reached an important milestone as its Preliminary Business Case has been submitted to my Department for review as is required under the Public Spending Code. For projects of this scale, the Public Spending Code stipulates that Government approval is required to allow the project submit its Railway Order application to An Bord Pleanála. The Preliminary Business Case has been developed on the basis of the existing project as has been subject to public consultation in recent years.
Secondly, we have the statutory review of the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area. The Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 stipulates that the Strategy must be reviewed every six years and this review provides an opportunity to re-examine and re-consider proposals for inclusion in the revised Strategy. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has stated that as part of its review it is considering whether additional metro routes should be included in any revised Strategy. It has further stated that as part of the public consultation process all background studies conducted to assist with this consideration will be published and I understand this public consultation phase will commence in the coming months.
I think it important to also note that inclusion in any revised Strategy is the first step in what is a very detailed process to enable projects move from the strategic support enabled by inclusion in a Transport Strategy to being a project with a Preliminary Business Case seeking approval to enter the statutory planning process.