INSTALLATION OF a Luas tramline in Dublin’s O’Connell Street will require the removal of many of the statues and most of the trees on its central median, it was confirmed yesterday.
The O’Connell and Parnell monuments would be unaffected by the Luas BXD plan, although they would also have to be taken down if the Government was to proceed with the Metro North scheme.
Anne Kiernan, chief architect with the Railway Procurement Agency, said the Luas line would encroach on the central median at the northern end of O’Connell Street.
As planned, there would be a single tramline on the street, running from south to north. The north-south line would run on Marlborough Street via a new bridge over the Liffey to Hawkins Street.
Ms Kiernan said all of the existing trees on the central median of O’Connell Street – mostly silver birch and mountain ash, planted within the past 10 years – would be replaced with “more appropriate” trees.
She said the statues removed to facilitate construction of the line would be re-erected after the work is completed. These include James Larkin, William Smith O’Brien, Sir John Gray and Father Matthew.
Poles for the electric power would be located on the central median, with a single-arm cantilever, to minimise the visual impact of the wirescape on the street. Two Luas stops are planned for the street: one between the Gray and Larkin statues, the other to the north of the Spire – both located on the central median so as not to interfere with bus stops.
The design strategy would involve re-ordering the median to form linked spaces through the pattern of trees, lamps and paving, for the full length of the street.
It is understood Dublin City Council chief planning officer Dick Gleeson will object to the encroachment of Luas on the median.
At a preliminary hearing yesterday, An Bord Pleanála’s senior planning inspector said everyone who had made submissions on Luas BXD would be able to express their views at the full hearing, which opens next Wednesday.