herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

Tunnel under Sandymount 'a waste of money', say locals

Vincent Ryan
Vincent Ryan
Linus O'Brien
Butcher Ray Byrne

A proposal to bore a tunnel under the capital's southside area has been described as a "complete waste of money" by a political party leader.

Dublin City Council currently supports plans to build a link between the north Dublin Port and the southern cross/south eastern motorway, via an eastern bypass of the city.

The project would see a commuter passage being built underneath Sandymount, Merrion Strand and the Booterstown Marsh, and link with the Dublin Port Tunnel.

Dublin City Council view this route as the "preferred" option, but it will be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment and a public consultation process.

A similar plan which was proposed a number of years ago was estimated to cost of approximately €4bn, but fell through.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan described the planned initiative as "a complete waste of money" and added that the money being invested into the project should go towards more important issues.

"Public transport is crying out for funding across the city, and instead of sinking billions into the ground we should focus on cheaper alternatives, like extending the Luas out to Poolbeg and developing the peninsula as a new residential hub within a stone's throw of the city centre," Mr Ryan said.

There was mixed reaction from businesses in the Sandymount area, with some voicing concern over the disruption works could cause to the village.

"It wouldn't be great for the area, it's bad enough as it is here with the sand two feet into the earth, it would kill the village if construction were to be carried out here," Ray Byrne, of Michael Byrne butcher's, told the Herald.

"If they try to put this plan through it will be strongly resisted by residents in the area, they can keep their tunnel on the northside," he added.

Barman Vincent Ryan, who works in the Sandymount House, agreed that construction work would affect the area, but added that long-term, the tunnel may prove worthwhile.

"Obviously short-term it wouldn't be great for the area, it would be very disruptive and could drive people away from the village," Mr Ryan said.

"Long-term though it could prove a good thing. It could bring consumers to the area as a stop off point," he added.

Linus O'Brien, who works in an off-licence on the main street, believed that the area's foundations would prove a problem for the project.

"Two feet below the ground there's sand, so I can't imagine how they would plan to build a tunnel underneath. Houses in the area have caved in in the past due to not having proper foundations, so trying to build a tunnel might be difficult," Mr O'Brien said.

A full report and recommendation by the Council's chief executive Owen Keegan will be considered at a special Council meeting on May 5.

A more detailed draft development plan is expected to be prepared and circulated to councillors by the last week in July, for further consideration prior to a formal display.

hnews@herald.ie

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