THE OLD railway station in Dundrum, Co Dublin, is to be repaired by the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) on foot of a warning notice by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council over its dilapidated condition.
The mid-19th century building, which is a protected structure, stands alongside the Sandyford Luas line at its Dundrum stop and was intended for conversion into a cafe when the line opened in 2004.
Instead, it was left vacant and has since been vandalised and partly destroyed by fire last October.
The warning notice issued in February referred to the building "continuing to be endangered" and left "open to the elements".
Michael Sheedy, the RPA's light rail director, told An Taisce in May that tender documentation was being prepared for the renovation of the station's roof, which dates from 1859.
"In order to prevent any recurrence of fire damage, it is intended to temporarily block up the openings so as to deny access to vandals," he said in a letter to An Taisce's South County Dublin Association.
"RPA is currently involved in negotiations to dispose of its interest in the property. Such disposal will take full cognisance of the need to restore and preserve this protected structure," Mr Sheedy wrote.
But Dundrum resident Vivien Hood said people living there "will not be satisfied with a reinstatement of the roof", adding that "the excuse of negotiations is no reason for not maintaining the building".
She complained to the county council in June that nothing had been done to force the RPA to take steps to preserve the railway station, saying the full rigours of the law should be applied.
An RPA spokesman said the intention in 2004 was that it would become a coffee shop, to cater for the 5,000 people who use the Dundrum Luas stop every day. But this did not go ahead, he added.
"We would have been much happier if it had been sold, but it wasn't.
"Because it's a listed building, repairing it would need a conservation architect and the intention is that these works would start in October."
The spokesman agreed that the Luas project team had prepared an urban framework plan in the late 1990s to integrate the station and base of the Dargan suspension bridge with Dundrum's Main Street. However, this depended on the local authority and private developers.
"All we could do was to present a vision, but it didn't happen in Dundrum because there wasn't sufficient interest."
The spokesman was at a loss to explain why, given that the property market was so buoyant in 2004.
He said it was probably unrealistic for outlets on the Luas lines to be seen as "cash cows".
A snack bar attached to an ESB sub-station at the Smithfield stop on the Tallaght Luas line had failed, but he pointed out that a convenience store at the Beechwood stop on the Sandyford Luas line was thriving.
There have also been mixed results in terms of reinstating damage done to the urban fabric by the construction of Luas, where buildings had to be demolished to make way for the light rail track.
Although a new sheltered housing scheme has reinstated the corner of James's Street and Bow Lane, there is still an unsightly derelict site on Arran Quay Terrace, where a terrace of houses was demolished.
Located between Smithfield and Queen Street, this narrow site was sold by the RPA last year to developer Liam Carroll, following a public tender, for what the spokesman described as a good market price.
The Irish Times