OVER 3,500 residents in East Wall are united in their opposition to Irish Rail’s plans for the DART Underground, which will see their area become a building site for the next 10 years due to tunnel boring.
Locals were shocked to learn that East Wall is the only site where tunnel-boring machines will be assembled and launched as part of the construction of twin-bore tunnels.
To add insult to injury, the residents are furious that the area will not even get its own DART station despite having to bear the brunt of the works for the duration of the project should the proposal for the underground rail line go ahead as planned.
Irish Rail had initially proposed that tunnelling would take place at two locations – Inchicore and East Wall. However, tunnelling at Inchicore was dropped for cost saving purposes.
The plans were revealed when Irish Rail recently applied to An Bord Pleanala for a Railway Order.
Angela Broderick, spokesperson for the Protect East Wall action group, said the entire community has been galvanised in its opposition to the plan, which she believes shows a “blatant disregard” for the community.
“The future underground promises to be a comfortable ride for passengers, but for East Wall the delivery of this project means an extremely noisy, vibrating, dust-filled nine-year ride with not even a station provided by way of thanks,” Ms Broderick told Northside People.
“We are absolutely shocked and feel we have been very unfairly treated."
“It seems that East Wall will be dumped with all the tunnelling which will undoubtedly create air and noise pollution, noise vibrations and a constant stream of trucks carrying millions of cubic metres of material through our quiet and settled community.”
Ms Broderick said over 1,000 people have signed a petition opposing the plans and a further 70 group and individual submissions have been lodged to An Bord Pleanala in relation to the plan.
Furious East Wall residents believe the plan for tunnelling at Inchicore was dropped as a result of an intense media campaign by lobby group ‘Inchicore on Track’ prior to the application for the Railway Order.
Members of Protect East Wall have also slammed Irish Rail for a “lack of consultation” on the DART Underground plans.
“Irish Rail would call the meetings we’ve had ‘consultation’ but we would call it more a ‘presentation’ as our voice was not listened to,” Ms Broderick claimed.
However, Barry Kenny, spokesperson for Irish Rail, said there has been “extensive consultation” over the last two years.
“We did a review of the project originally which had four tunnel bores, two from the Inchicore and two from the East Wall side,” Mr Kenny told Northside People.
“There are a number of reasons that we decided against the Inchicore tunnelling.
“Cost saving was the biggest motivation as we will now only be using two tunnel boring machines from East Wall,
“These machines cost tens of millions of euro. Also, the tunnelling would have had a direct structural impact on houses in Inchicore which will not be the case in East Wall, as the tunnelling will take place at the old freight yard."
“Also as a benefit of the freight yard, 75 per cent of the spoil [the material removed as part of the tunnelling] can be taken away by rail, while the remainder can be transported through the [port] tunnel and on the motorways.”
Mr Kenny said the East Wall area does not need a DART station as it is within close proximity to Clontarf and Connolly stations, as well as the Docklands.
“The environmental impact has been very clearly outlined in the environmental report which indicated that the tunnelling won’t have any significant effect on residents,” he added.
“Should there be any type of contamination of the spoil then it will be treated and disposed of appropriately.
“We also feel that in the long-term, human health will be improved as the DART will take vehicles off the roads.”
Dublin Central TD Joe Costello (Lab) and Cllr Emer Costello (Lab) are among those who have made a submission on the plans.
“The original houses in East Wall are almost entirely two-storey and built on land reclaimed from the sea,” a statement from the Costellos read.
“East Wall lies within the curve of the railway line and is isolated from the rest of the city.
“Due to its low-lying location it has been subjected to flooding, the most recent being last year, 2009."
“Householders find it difficult and expensive to get home insurance."
“East Wall needs sensitive treatment from planners and community benefit from major projects that impact on the area.”