| 15.8°C Dublin

City council must repay e3m if Metro vision stalls

DUBLIN City Council will have to pay back €3m to developers if Metro North does not go ahead, it has emerged.

An Bord Pleanala has given final planning approval but there are severe doubts over whether the underground rail link will ever be built.

And it has now been revealed the council will have to return the millions of euro if the scheme is called off.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar is expected to announce the postponement of both Metro North and the Underground Dart project, which would have cost a combined €5bn. The Rail Procurement Agency (RPA), which is overseeing Metro North, has already spent over €200m on the proposal.

With permission being granted, the RPA is now due to select a winning bid to build and operate the system.

Two consortiums, Celtic Metro and Metro Express, are competing with each other to land the massive contract.

Reports have indicated that the successful bidder would be entitled to compensation if the project was postponed.

In addition, Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan asked Dublin City Council what would happen to the money it collected in development contributions in the event of Metro North not going ahead.

The sums are paid by developers who build housing or office schemes along or near the proposed route of Metro North.

In a reply, the council revealed about €3m has been collected under section 49 of the Metro North Development Contributions Scheme on behalf of RPA.

"Should the project not go ahead it is anticipated that the contributions paid would be refunded. If the project is suspended, the monies would be held and transferred to the RPA when the project recommenced," the council told Cllr McCartan.

Mr Varadkar is likely to shelve the project next month when the Government announces its new national development plan.

Yesterday, An Bord Pleanala approved the construction of a depot for the light rail system and gave the go-ahead to acquire lands owned by GAA clubs Na Fianna and Whitehall Rangers, Fingal County Council and Dublin Airport Authority.

comurphy@hnews.ie