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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Angry councillors 'left in dark' over €48m Merrion Gates plan

Councillors had to learn about €48m project in the media
Councillors had to learn about €48m project in the media

Dublin city councillors are angry because they learned about a major traffic plan for Sandymount's Merrion Gates in the media.

Members of a Dublin City Council committee yesterday expressed disappointment that they were not informed about the plan before it became public.

They made their views known as members of the National Transport Authority (NTA) gave a presentation on the €48m project.

"I heard about this on [RTE Radio One's] Drive Time. I don't think that's the way it should be done," said Labour's Dermot Lacey. "I share the annoyance of other councillors."

Fine Gael's Paddy McCartan, who chaired the meeting, said there was a concern about the way it was announced, while his party colleague Kieran Binchy said he shared the anger that there was no consultation.

Disrespect

Hugh Creegan, deputy chief executive of the NTA, said a presentation had been given to councillors on the joint Dublin City Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council S2S Committee.

He said it was not his intention to leave councillors in the dark. "No disrespect of any type was intended," he said.

S2S Committee member Cllr Frank Kennedy confirmed the committee had been given a presentation but said it was told to keep it confidential.

Despite the frustration of councillors, the plan was welcomed by the public representatives.

It includes the construction of a new road to cross the Dart line at Strand Road on the southside of the city, and is designed to remove a notorious traffic bottleneck in Dublin.

Along with the Dart overpass, transport bosses want to build a 6.5km walking and cycling path connecting Seapoint with Irishtown.

Part of the development will be underground.

The plan will require some land to be acquired under compulsory purchase orders. A number of homes may also be purchased.

Eliminate

The scheme is designed to eliminate major traffic disruption at the Merrion Gates, where a Dart level crossing is closed for up to 20 minutes each hour at peak times, causing major congestion.

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