This week I was disappointed to see that Ballyfermot is being by-passed by the new DART plans. A station there (or in Kylemore) would provide a great service to an area which is already without a rail connection to the city centre. Further to reading these reports I wrote to the Minister on this matter.
Dear Minister Ryan,
I am writing to you today in my capacity as TD for Dublin South-Central regarding the Dart+ Programme, part of which is set to run through my constituency.
As a Green Party TD and someone who is dedicated to tackling the climate crisis, I, like yourself, am a huge advocate for the usage of sustainable transport options and facilitation of such; be they pedestrian, cycle or public transport. Therefore I am passionately in favour of the various schemes being put in place such as Bus Connects, Metro North and Dart+, all of which will have a positive impact not just on the lives of our citizens but indeed on the planet we live on. I am also an advocate of a just transition, believing that environmental policy can, and should, be done with social justice and equality in mind. Therefore, upon reading through the latest draft Dart+ plan as laid out by the Irish Rail, I was disappointed to see that although the proposed south-west expansion is routed via Dublin South-Central there is no stations planned for most of the area.
Previously plans for the expansion had proposed stations at places such as Kylemore and Ballyfermot but these no longer appear in the latest published plans (similarly NTA plans for an Inchicore stop as part of ‘DART Underground’ have also been dropped). As is currently the case the proposed route will see no stop between Parkwest and Heuston station which represents a real failing in the plan especially for disadvantaged socio-economic areas that the line will literally run straight through. Currently an area like Ballyfermot has no rail connections to the city centre, nor are there any proposed plans to link it. Given the new development plans for the Naas Road, the building of a DART station in the area would have the effect of both connecting the area to the city whilst also facilitating people moving to the suburbs thus easing the pressure on the housing market in the central area.
If this proposed route goes ahead as planned, it would be, I believe, a huge missed opportunity to address socio-economic inequality in a real and lasting way. It would be a positive development if your department reconsiders the plan and meet with resident groups and local representatives as soon as possible to discuss suitable locations for stations in the South-Central area.
Is mise le meas,
Patrick Costello TD – Dublin South-Central