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Artist’s impression of the St Stephen’s Green Station entrance located opposite the Shelbourne Hotel.

Office of Public Works says St Stephen's Green could be damaged by Metrolink

It’s opposed to plans for the park, including to move two of its famous sculptures.

THE METROLINK RAIL project could have “very significant, negative” effects on the historic St Stephen’s Green park in Dublin city centre and amounts to partial “demolition” of the heritage site, the Office of Public Works (OPW) has told an An Bord Pleanála hearing.

Talks between the OPW and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), which is leading work on the project, have resolved issues in relation to 16 other sites including the National Museum of Ireland, Government Buildings and the Garden of Remembrance – but the OPW remains opposed to locating a Metrolink station at St Stephen’s Green.

TII has rejected claims that any demolition will take place.

At the ongoing planning hearing in Dublin’s Gresham Hotel this morning, OPW expressed concern over several elements of the plan, including the proposal to move the Wolfe Tone and Famine memorials from their current location at the north-eastern entrance to the park opposite the Shelbourne Hotel.

The mid-1960s monuments by Irish sculptor Eamon Delaney would be moved 30 metres back into the park under plans for the new station, which will be located under the eastern side of the park and its perimeter footpath.

The St Stephen’s Green station is expected to be Metrolink’s fourth most used. The park receives 4.4 million visitors each year, according to the OPW.

TII told the hearing that its research pointed to St Stephen’s Green as the best location for a station in that area of the city, when compared with alternatives also considered. TII said it respected An Bord Pleanála’s remit to modify the Metrolink plans but urged it to take account of these studies pointing to St Stephen’s Green as the best location.

A representative for the OPW told the hearing that “while there has been engagement [with TII], there has been no agreement” on St Stephen’s Green.

The OPW said while it supports the Metrolink project, it does not support the plans as they pertain to the Green because it believes “permanent changes” and “demolition” will take place. The government department said that the only way it will agree to the project is if another location for the station is chosen.

St Stephen's Green Station from inside Artist's impression of the St Stephen's Green Metrolink station entrance.

TII said it will seek any and all relevant consent and approval from local or State bodies to carry out the project, including at St Stephen’s Green. 

The TII added it is “very conscious” of the significance of the St Stephen’s Green and the importance of the public park to the city of Dublin.

Architects and engineers commissioned to work on the project by TII said the choice to move the Wolfe Tone and famine memorial monuments was done in the interest of conserving more trees during the project.

a-statue-of-wolfe-tone-the-irish-republican-and-revolutionary-by-the-sculptor-edward-delaney-in-st-stephens-green-dublin-ireland Wolfe Tone memorial monument located at the north-eastern entrance to St Stephen's Green. Alamy Alamy

One of the project’s architects said the inclusion of the station at the Green’s north-eastern entrance will require the construction teams to widen the footpath.

If the monuments, added to the park in 1967, were to remain in their place, the footpath would have to be widened more than currently planned, thus requiring the construction teams to remove more trees.

The architect also argued that moving the monuments to a new location 30 metres away would improve permeability between the park and the station.

Concerns over 16 other properties resolved

TII today submitted an agreed schedule of conditions between it and the OPW to the project’s planning inspector, along with a separate schedule of conditions on how the group will continue with its plans to build at the park.

The agreed conditions have resolved the OPW’s concerns over the project’s potential impact at 16 other properties in the city that it maintains.

TII acknowledged that the schedule of conditions for St Stephen’s Green does not represent an agreement between it and the OPW, but is based on the previous engagements between the two groups, which TII said were “positive”.

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