Dublin MetroLink on track for opening early next decade, says Ryan

Dublin Metrolink On Track For Opening Early Next Decade, Says Ryan
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the line would be built ‘quicker than people think’. Photo: PA Images
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David Young, PA

Dublin’s troubled MetroLink rail line is on track to be operating by the early 2030s, Eamon Ryan has insisted.

The Minister for Transport said the planning process was well advanced and he expressed confidence the line would be built “quicker than people think”.


MetroLink, which is estimated to cost €9.5 billion, will consist of a fully segregated railway, most of which will be underground, running from north of Swords to Charlemont in the south of Dublin city centre.

Various Metro projects for the capital have been proposed in recent decades but none have proceeded to build stage, despite more than €100 million being spent on those planned routes.

Bank holiday getaway
Dublin Airport would be one of the stops on the MetroLink (PA)


The current MetroLink plan will include 16 stations and serve residential communities such as Swords, Ballymun and Glasnevin, as well as the city centre and Dublin Airport.

When operations commence, there will be trains every three minutes during peak periods.

At his end-of-year media briefing, Mr Ryan was asked whether planning delays could see the completion date pushed to the latter half of the next decade.

“I don’t accept that Metro will be delayed until the latter half of the next decade. I think it will be a lot sooner,” he replied.


“I was a member of the Public Transportation Office advisory committee. I’ll never forget in the Platform To Change document we wrote in 1999, the engineers said ‘whatever we do, we should build the Metro first and not upgrade the M50’.

“And what did we do? We upgraded the M50 and did not build the Metro. We will build it now.

“There has been so much work done, and the planning is so advanced.

“There are 10,000-page documents that have gone into An Bord Pleanala. This has been analysed inside out, so I’m confident we will get it through planning, and we will build quicker than people think.”



Mr Ryan said it was important to respect the independence of the planning system.


However, he said proposed reforms of planning laws, set out in a Government Bill currently before the Dáil, were needed.

“You have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

“Having an independent An Bord Pleanála, (citizens) having all the legal rights under the Aarhus Convention, and under environmental law, to be able to question and check and test things is absolutely right,” he said.

“I don’t think the problem is An Bord Pleanála, or the fundamental nature of it, there have been operational problems, and there were real problems in the planning laws from 2000 to today.

“It had been amended so many times that they were contradictory and they were liable for judicial review on everything.

“It was not serving anyone. It was too expensive and taking too long, and (planning applications) caught in the courts over really protracted periods.

“That is going to be addressed by the Planning Bill that (Minister for Housing) Darragh O’Brien has just got through the second stage in the Dáil.

“It will go to committee stage, as I understand it, on January 30th or February 1st. It will be through the Oireachtas, in my mind, by Easter. We really need it in place.”

Asked when he expected MetroLink to be up and running, the Minister added: “Early in the next decade.”

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