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Albert College Park in Glasnevin. Google Maps
public hearing

MetroLink: 'White House' owner and north Dublin residents' groups call for station to be moved

Residents called for the Collins Avenue station to be moved from Our Lady of Victories Church to an area within Albert College Park.

RESIDENTS IN NORTH Dublin have urged Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to reconsider putting a MetroLink station in Albert College Park, rather than at the chosen location at a church on Ballymun Road.

On the fourth day of the hearing into the project, residents living on Ballymun Road and Griffith Avenue called for the Collins Avenue station to be moved from Our Lady of Victories Church to an area within the park, a ten-minute walk away.

They included the owner of an art deco home designed by London architect Harold Greenwood, who claimed that construction work could damage the house, which is a protected structure.

Residents also raised concerns about the proposed construction of an emergency intervention shaft in the Glasnevin park.

The proposed MetroLink will have 16 new stations running from Swords to Charlemont and carry 53 million passengers annually. Construction is set to begin next year, with an opening year of 2035.

The 18.8km route will have an end-to-end journey time of 25 minutes and serve residential areas including Ballymun and Glasnevin, as well as the City Centre and Dublin Airport, and will link to Irish Rail, Luas and bus services.

The hearing, which is scheduled to last until 28 March, has heard from other residents’ associations, as well as from TDs and other public representatives, some of whom called for the MetroLink’s terminus to be changed from the chosen location at Charlemont.

As part of the MetroLink project, an intervention shaft is set to be built at the southwest corner of Albert College Park, between the Collins Avenue station and Griffith Park station.

The park, which is also known as Hampstead Park, is located next to the DCU campus on the Ballymun Road. It has a playground, football and GAA pitches, and tennis courts within the grounds.

Intervention shafts fall under the fire safety requirements for the project. They are required if the distance between two metro stations exceeds one kilometre.

The shaft would provide ventilation for the tunnels, along with facilitating the evacuation of people from a station during an emergency and providing access to emergency services.

90281952_90281952 Albert College Park in Glasnevin. Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Louise Boughton lives in ‘the White House’, the art deco-style house designed by London architect Harold Greenwood, which is located on Ballymun Road at the corner of Albert College Park.

Addressing the hearing, she said that her home would be the closest home to the construction of the shaft and raised concerns about the impact it could have on her property.

Since buying the house in 2019, she said that she and her husband have “cared for it ever since” and have engaged in a “very serious” restoration process. She said that due cognisance “has not been taken of the protected status of our property”.

“We love the house, and we take the fact that it is a protected structure very seriously,” Boughton told the hearing.

She said the house has single-pane glazing, which has to be maintained because of planning permission and expressed “grave concerns” that the impact of the construction would damage the windows. “We already know that [single-pane glazing] does not protect against noise,” she said.

Cracks have also been appearing in the property since 2019, “before any tunnelling work has begun, she said, adding that they are “very nervous” about potential damage.

Constructing a station in the park rather than an intervention shaft would afford protection to the house and the windows as the proposed location is slightly further away from the house, Boughton said.

The house is a protected structure for a reason. Let’s protect it.

In response, Neil Cowie, a chartered civil engineer on behalf of TII, said that the location of the Collins Avenue station in front of Our Lady of Victories Church was chosen because it is “he best location for an interchange facility for other public transport routes in the area and the ability to attract a lot of passengers”.

Screenshot (508) The property, designed by London architect Harold Greenwood, is a landmark in the area. Google Maps Google Maps

Cowie presented an illustration of the scale of a potential station in Albert College compared with the size of the intervention shaft, saying there would be a “significant difference in scale” between the two.

“Assuming the entrance would be at the north end, there would need to be an entrance plaza which would take out more of the existing trees and park,” he said, adding that a station would have “a much greater impact permanently and during construction”.

Cowie said that even if a station was put in the park, there would still need to be intervention shaft between this station and the Ballymun station because the distance between them would exceed one kilometre. 

MetroLink project director Aidan Foley also addressed concerns raised by Boughton that any potential damage to her home would exceed the €45,000 limit that TII would spend to repair properties under the Property Owners’ Protection Scheme (POPS).

“Rest assured that any damage that is caused, which we suspect will be very slight, will be rectified by TII,” Foley said.

Griffith Avenue

The hearing also heard from the Griffith Avenue and District Residents’ Association (GADRA), who are also concerned about the construction of the intervention shaft in the park.

Una Caulfield, who spoke on behalf of the association, said it was their experience that TII “did not proactively engage or respond to us” during the consultation process for the project. 

Screenshot (501) A computer-generated image of the proposed intervention shaft in Albert College Park. MetroLink MetroLink

After requesting a meeting with TII in 2019, GADRA was granted a meeting, only to be informed when they arrived that TII staff would not be attending, Caulfield said. “GADRA was never granted a further meeting to discuss MetroLink.”

This was disputed by Foley, who said TII had met with the association “a number of times” on the preferred route and that the consultation “had been comprehensive in our view”. 

However, he did concede: “It is true that we could have met with you on more frequent occasions.”

Caulfield said GADRA had worked closely with the Ballymun and Hampstead residents’ associations, respectively, and said they fully supported their request that the inspector “fully consider the position” of the Collins Avenue station. 

She said the residents that they represent, which number around 1,000, were not initially consulted about putting an intervention shaft into the park and were not informed about whether the shaft would be above or below ground. 

“The public cannot appropriately feed into a process and hope to have feedback incorporated if they are not properly informed of the nature of such significant structures.”

She said the association is “pro-Metro” and want the best design for the residents in the area.

“It would be much easier to gain support for the challenges residents would face in terms of construction if there is a consequent gain in terms of a station in the park,” she added. 

Foley said that TII is “willing to consult with residents into the future” in relation to how the shaft “might present in the park and how its appearance can be improved”. 

Representatives for the Our Lady of Victories campus were also scheduled to appear at the hearing today. Residents previously expressed concern at the location of the Glasnevin Avenue station. 

A solicitor representing the campus told the hearing that they were currently engaged in discussions about mitigation measures that “may be tailored to our needs”. He said the negotiations had been “very fruitful” so far.

The solicitor said he was confident the discussions would be successful and asked that they be allowed to continue in the hope that it would not be necessary for the campus to provide additional statements at the hearing.  

He said that if further statements were needed, they would be provided before the close of the first module of the hearing. TII were satisfied with this.

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