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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019
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Luas works: 'Tourists don't come down the street but the Irish don't mind'

While there may be issues with the construction of the new Luas lines, many businesses are looking to the future rewards it will bring.

“WE’RE JUST USED to it” said Billy Kelly, manager of Monza Menswear on Dawson Street.

“We’ve been working in a building site for two years.”

Similar reactions can be found in many businesses up and down the thoroughfare but many are looking to the light at the end of the tunnel after years of Luas works.

Construction on the new tram lines has been as much of a feature of Dublin as the Spire on O’Connell Street and the Molly Malone, but unlike those landmarks it doesn’t always bring the money with it.

According to David Baumler, of Baumler menswear, “Tourists don’t come down the street but the Irish don’t mind.”

According to Baumler, business has been “so-so”, but maybe even a bit better than last year “because people are a bit better off”.

Work on the Luas lines has been ramping up in the last number of months as construction crews aim to make a December 2017 deadline.

The work is one the biggest engineering projects undertaken in the city in years and requires a lot of coordination. But despite best preparations, people are always going to be affected.

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Some business are none too pleased with the effect the works are having on their businesses.

Garry Reilly is the owner of O’Reilly’s pub on Parnell street, where construction has been quite intense. He says it has been ongoing for the past 10 months and that business has been down as a result.

“Turnover has been down 30% [from this time last year] with the works outside” said O’Reilly.

[There are] constant complaints about noise outside, no sound barriers are used… dust everywhere, the carpets are ruined.

Games in Croke Park bring huge custom in the bar but O’Reilly says that the money he takes in on these usually busy days is down as much as 50%.

He, with a number of other business along Parnell Street, have voiced their complaints to Luas and local representatives about the works.

T O’Brennans pub on Dominick St has similar issues. The business was temporarily blocked in by the construction.

Luas was contacted about the issue and the problem was quickly resolved, but not before the pub made the best of the situation with some social media posts.

The first gauge of the new tracks is expected to take place in June, where one tram is sent down all the tracks slowly to test out every nook and cranny. All going well, further testing and driver training is scheduled for August and September.

There is a sense now that although the current situation is a hassle to deal with it, the future benefits will be worth it.

“I think at the end of it, the reward at the end are going to be huge,” said Kelly.

Graeme McQueen of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce stresses that although businesses might have difficulties at the moment, the future benefits will be worth it.

“We’ve been hearing from companies, the general line from our members is short-term pain for long-term gain,” said McQueen.

“Everybody is looking for the finish line so the city can back to normal.”

McQueen said that there are not many members of the Chamber of Commerce on Parnell Street but he believes that areas such as these can benefit the most from the Luas going in.

“The businesses that are suffering the most at the moment but they are the ones that will benefit the most,” he said.

“It is vital to get the works completed by the start of December, we can’t afford another Christmas where retailers are being hit.”

Construction on the rest of the Luas infrastructure will continue for the next several months as electrical power, signal controls and other systems are installed across the lines – all of which is due to take up until September. During this time, historical works that were removed from locations to make room for the Luas will be reinstated.

With all going to plan testing of the lines will take up much of the latter half of 2017.

The Luas works have become an annoying mainstay in the city, and for many business around the city centre, the end can’t come quick enough.

Luas Source: Luas Cross City

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