Monday 3 October 2011

An Taisce welcomes halt to Metro West

HERITAGE body An Taisce has welcomed the decision by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar to put a stop to what it described as "the Metro West folly".

Mr Varadkar announced yesterday that he had suspended the planning process as funding to construct the new railway in Dublin would not be available in the foreseeable future.

He said he was acting on the advice of the National Transport Authority when he instructed the Railway Procurement Agency to withdraw its application for a railway order from An Bord Pleanála.

"From this weekend, I have suspended all planning works for Metro West, and the An Bord Pleanála oral hearing which was due to commence will not now proceed," he said.

The Metro West line, funded by a public-private partnership, was due to go from Tallaght through Clondalkin, Liffey Valley and Blanchardstown and link up with the planned Metro North line to end at Dublin Airport.

Charles Stanley-Smith, An Taisce chairman, said the decision was a "welcome act of sanity" and the only responsible approach given the economic constraints facing the country and the lack of funding for the project.

He said the proposal included an unacceptable crossing of the Liffey Valley at one of its most scenic points and in the heart of a special amenity area order.

"We are calling for more of this responsible decision-making and for a transport solution for Dublin that is fit for people’s needs now, and the country’s capacity to deliver it," he said.

A spokesperson for the Railway Procurement Agency said the issue was a matter for the minister and noted that the client process had been suspended, not cancelled.

Mr Varadkar said that until financial credibility was restored, the international debt funding market would be reluctant to lend funds to finance projects in Ireland and the exchequer would not be able to make its contribution to the cost in the foreseeable future.

"Metro West will be examined again at a future stage when the country’s finances have improved," said Mr Varadkar.

Irish Examiner

No comments: