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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 18 September, 2019
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'They've completely isolated us': Dublin businesses say Luas works are destroying their livelihoods

The Luas Cross City construction has had a negative impact on local businesses.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

STEPHEN TROY’S FAMILY has run a butchers on Moore Street in Dublin’s city centre  for the past 100 years.

Troy’s Butchers is situated near the end of the historical street heading out of the city centre. It is past the entrance to the Ilac Shopping Centre and the rows of fruit and vegetable traders, set next to a café and a gallery.

Troy’s has won numerous awards for being one of the best butchers in Dublin down through the years. It sells a big variety of meat products – from traditional cuts to more specialist items like tripe and beef tongue.

Moore Street is a culturally diverse area, and Stephen Troy – who bought the business with his brother from his uncles about five years ago – works hard to move with the times.

Following the financial collapse and during the recession Stephen said he worked hard to keep the business viable. But for the past three years he says his business has taken a serious hit due to the ongoing construction of the Luas Cross City.

“We were at a steady amount of takings after the recession, we steadied very evenly for a couple of years there… and since the works started we’ve taken a major drop,” Stephen Troy told TheJournal.ie.

“In the last three years the Luas works started there on Dominick Street and Parnell Street and it has hindered all the businesses in the area.

Our own accountant can prove by the figures that we’re down 35-40%.

Stephen said that he has had to let people go over the past two years as business has dropped. He said all the businesses in the surrounding area were dealing with the same problems.

“They’ve made this street into an island, nearly impossible to get [to],” said Stephen.

They’ve completely isolated us.

Luas4 Luas work on Parnell Street.

Luas Cross City

Works on the Luas Cross City began in early 2013 and are set to be complete later this year. The tram service is expected to be operational by year’s end.

Once complete the tracks will span the city centre of Dublin from Stephen’s Green on the south side of the River Liffey to Broombridge on the north.

The laying of the tracks is a huge infrastructure project. Currently navigating through Dublin city involves walking around a lot of hoarding and construction. Traffic at rush hour in the city has been severely affected recently by the works.

(Political party Renua Ireland even said O’Connell Street in Dublin “looks like it did after being shelled in 1916 such is the scale of the devastation“).

The National Transport Authority – which is overseeing the project – estimates that an additional 10 million passenger journeys will be added per year once the service is fully operational; this will likely have a positive knock-on effect for businesses in the city.

Dublin 1 Business Alliance

However, Stephen Troy feels that the works have had severely negative impact on his livelihood. Together with 14 other businesses in the area he has formed the Dublin 1 Business Alliance.

Troy said that the businesses are planning to take legal action in order to seek compensation for earnings lost as a result of the project.

Noel Dunne – who owns the Centra at the corner of Parnell Street and Moore Street – told TheJournal.ie that his business has also been severely affected by the works.

Luas2 Noel Dunne says his business has also been negatively affected.

“On footfall we’re down 20% on our customer count week-on-week; on the same week last year and the year before,” said Noel.

That’s reflected in turnover, we’re down about the same, 22-23% in turnover.

Dunne also said that the water had been cut off at the store without proper notice on occasion.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Luas Cross City said that it was not possible to guarantee increased business revenue once the project was complete. But following the opening of the Luas Green and Red lines some businesses experienced a 25% increase in footfall.

The spokesperson said that the Luas Cross City was “not in a position to provide compensation to businesses”.

“We regret any inconvenience which is caused to businesses in the affected areas and we do all in our power to mitigate the impact of these necessary works,” the spokesperson said.

Luas Cross City  has the  authority to carry out the works, including non-negligent disruption to businesses.

In granting the Railway Order, An Bord Pleanála acknowledged that the “long-term benefits of the scheme would outweigh the short-term impacts during construction”.

It also acknowledged there would be “significant disruption” as a result of the works and that this was “an inevitable consequence of the scale and nature of the project”.

For Stephen Troy, however, there is the feeling that his livelihood is being severely impacted and he may not get any benefits when the project is complete.

“I only took over the business… that’s been trading over 100 years,” he said.

It’s very worrying to take it over in the last six or seven years and then think that the business could close because of the Luas works, you know?

Read: Renua are claiming Luas works make O’Connell St ‘look like 1916′

Read: Greens say traffic plans are ‘too generous to cars’ and anti-public transport

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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