No sign of a Northside Luas line

A FEW years back the EU Commission threatened blue murder if Ireland continued its discrimination against the Northside of the city by placing the Luas on the Southside.

In reply the Irish government said that, of course, a Northside Luas line was imminent; was a matter of phasing; was waiting for the tunnel chaos to pass; was…well, was whatever you’re having yourself.

This seemed to satisfy the EU, so they paid out the money for the Southside Luas lines.

Since then, Dublin is no longer an Objective One region so we won’t be getting any EU money for the Northside Luas line. So any promises to the EU, never mind to Northsiders, could be safely forgotten. And forgotten they have been.

The last plan that was supposed to happen was that the current Sandyford line was to dip under the city at Stephen’s Green and emerge on the Northside on its way to the Airport.

Then some brainbox decided that this was inadequate and that a metro would have to be built instead, including ripping up the current Sandyford Luas line and putting a metro on it. (Even as planning is underway for a Luas extension. Also, presumably, the Sandyford Luas depot would have to be abandoned).

Then there was ‘Platform for Change’ from the DTO in 2001 which shows a Luas line heading north from the Four Courts.

Then there was the CIE plan to route a heavy rail line around Finglas to the Airport.

Then there was talk of linking the Airport to the Belfast line. Again.

Does anyone have the slightest idea of what’s going on? One thing is certain and that is that there is no firm plan for any new rail-based transport on the Northside. There’s not a chance of anything being built before 2010.

That this should be the case some ten years after the publication of the Dublin Transportation Initiative is a disgrace.

What is more galling for Northsiders is that the Dublin Tunnel works have been making life as miserable on the Northside as the Luas works have done on the Southside. The difference is that the tunnel will add precious little to the transport options of Northsiders.

Bertie’s to Blame

If there’s one person to blame for this it’s Bertie. He has been Taoiseach while all this dithering and time wasting has been going on.

He should do something about it now or he should pay for it the next time Northsiders go to the polls.

The right Luas plan

The underground option was always the best one for Luas.

The underground section should be from Stephen’s Green to the top of O’Connell Street. This would give huge capacity on north-south routes and would allow lines from Ballymun, Finglas and Coolock to be plugged into the tunnel from the Northside; and lines from Ballyboden, Sandyford and Stillorgan from the Southside.

What this promises is a joined-up transport system. Instead we seem destined to make the same mistake as we did with the DART – find a good solution and then abandon it.