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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 23 June, 2018
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Celtic Tiger's Metro North likely to be fast-tracked

Dublin Port and Dublin Airport are also tipped to benefit from increased capital expenditure.

Plans for Metro North.
Plans for Metro North.

THE METRO RAIL link from Dublin Airport to the city centre has been on the long finger for years – but it could be here sooner than expected.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe today announced the government is to review its capital spending programme – stating that it has €2.6 billion to play (€2.2 billion is being spent on Minister Simon Coveney’s housing action plan).

One of the projects tipped to be top of the list is the Metro North – one of the most well-known projects from the Celtic Tiger era.

It is envisaged the Metro line would carry 30 million passengers a year.

Construction was due to start in 2021 and be finished by 2026, but this could now be brought forward.

Source: Gravidade Consulting Engineers/YouTube

Speaking at a press conference today, Donohoe said ministers and their departments will be making submissions to him about what projects they want to see progressed.

While he said there is a lot of speculation about what projects might get the green light, the Metro project is a “leading example” of what the money could be spent on.

The minister said one of the underlying themes of the capital spend programme to be considered is how Ireland will prepare for Brexit, while another is the needs of a growing population.

He said a high-speed link to the city centre and the airport fits into that theme and would “deepen access” to Dublin Airport.

Metro North aims to carry passengers from Dublin’s O’Connell Street to the airport in 19 minutes.

He pointed out that Dublin Airport is sixth busiest airport in Europe, but it is also one of the few large airports in Europe that does not have a direct rail link to the city.

“[Metro] is definitely the kind of project Minister [Shane] Ross will be making to me,” said Donohoe.

The minister said the second parallel runway at the airport, which is currently going through the planning process, will be an “unbelievable” opportunity to this airport.

But it’s not just the Metro and the airport that will benefit from the funds.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said capacity expansion of Ireland’s ports is needed. Donohoe said access to Dublin Port needs to be improved so as to ensure a “competitive advantage” in the light of Brexit.

“Access is going to be crucial,” he said.

Noonan agreed that Dublin Port needs to be expanded, stating that some of the “largest vessels in the world” must be able to dock there.

Speaking about trade implications of Brexit, Noonan said he did not foresee ships being used more for trade purposes.

He said trucks bringing goods from Europe to Ireland will still travel through the UK. The minister outlined that when trucks arrive at Dover or Calais ports they will simply have to use the special channel for Irish trucks.

He said this issue does not appear to be an issue in the negotiations.

“They’ll start in the EU and end in the EU,” he said.

Read: Guinness-maker Diageo is building a Dublin distillery to create a “luxury whiskey”>

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