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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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Dublin campaigners protest demolition of apartment complex and pool for MetroLink

The Markievicz centre was refurbished by Dublin City Council for €1 million in 2016.

Markievicz. Source: GoogleMaps

RESIDENTS IN DUBLIN City Centre will march to Dáil Eireann tomorrow over plans to demolish an apartment block and local leisure centre to make way for MetroLink. 

People living in the College Gate apartment complex on Townsend Street on the southside were told last year that the building, including the Markievicz Leisure Centre below, are to be knocked down to make way for a new transport hub at Tara Street for the new rail line linking Dublin Airport to the city. 

John Dean, spokesperson for Save Markievicz Pool & Gym campaign, says that the leisure centre is the only affordable option for many of its customers, who benefit from Dublin City Council’s discount Passport for Leisure scheme.

The pool and gym were only refurbished by Dublin City Council for €1 million in 2016. Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the National Transport Authority (NTA) plan to demolish the newly renovated pool and gym, as well as the 70 College Gate apartments above, home to 150 residents. 

“Everybody is saying, ‘We weren’t consulted’,” says Dean, who adds that, so far, communication from both TII and Dublin City Council has been lacking. 

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey has sought information from council management and the NTA. “We’ve had no update,” he says. 

It was revealed last week that the southside section of the MetroLink is set to be scrapped following local opposition and potentially significant disruption to the Luas Green Line. 

A revised route for the rail line is due to be published in the coming weeks, an NTA spokesperson confirmed. “Those amended plans will be subject to a further round of public consultation,” they continued. 

Dean says that residents and leisure centre users want TII and the NTA to reconsider plans to knock the building on Townsend Street to make way for MetroLink, which is due to open in 2027. 

Alternatives to demolition include moving the hub closer to the River Liffey, says Dean, or finding suitable nearby location. ”There was also the option of using Apollo House. That would have been perfect.”

The site of the former Apollo House was sold last year for €50 million. Dean says that the development of the city centre and City Quay has led to a situation where the public housing is being neglected and the public resources are being torn down.

What you see is vacant property, neglected public housing and new expensive builds and office blocks.

So far, over 1,500 signatures have been gathered supportive of College Gate residents and those campaigning to save the leisure centre. 

Tomorrow at 5pm, campaigners are gathering at the Markievicz Leisure Centre before marching to the Dáil at 6pm. 

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