Senator Darragh O’Brien has expressed his anger and disappointment at the decision of the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar not to approve the enabling works for Metro North and to include it in a review of transport projects already planned, delaying critical infrastructure investment and job creation.

“Minister Varadkar has simply made the wrong call here.  Dublin needs Metro North and it should be built.  To facilitate construction certain utilities, pipes and telecommunications running under O’Connell Street need to be moved.  The Minister has said he will not allow these works to go ahead because he fears the companies bidding to build Metro might pull out.  He’s missing the point entirely as a lack of commitment and certainty from the new Government to this project could bring that exact scenario about.”

“The enabling works for Metro North were due to begin this month and would have created 250 jobs this year.  Many businesses in North Dublin have expressed their doubts to me about the commitment of Fine Gael and Labour to this important piece of infrastructure.  Now the two parties have thrown the project into serious doubt.  Far from committing to it, Metro is ‘under review’.  Fianna Fáil believes that Metro North is vital and will provide a significant economic boost once in operation.”

“The case for supporting Metro North is sound.  It will create up to 6,000 jobs during the construction phase and will be a catalyst for significant inward investment along a new ‘Metro North Economic Corridor’ stretching from Ballymun to north of Swords including Dublin airport.  An independent report has already concluded that this economic corridor could generate 37,000 new jobs.”

“It is also important to note that this project has the support of the RPA which commenced commercial and technical negotiations with PPP bidders in 2010 and a commitment of €500m in debt funding from the European Investment Bank.”

“Fingal is the fastest growing county in Ireland and its population is set to double over the next two decades to almost half a million people.  Building Metro North makes sense and Minister Varadkar should be providing certainty around this project and not fuelling doubt and uncertainty,” concluded Senator O’Brien.