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MetroLink will cost kids playing greens where soccer star Matt Doherty first showed his skill, say residents



Residents of Estuary Court in Swords, Dublin say their children will be deprived of their two greens for three years while tunnels are dug and as much as five or six years by the time the grounds are settled and replanted.

“That’s a pivotal time in the life of a child,” Barry Arthurs, a father of three young boys who has lived in the estate for 11 years, told the planning hearing into the project.

Residents of homes facing demolition for MetroLink to appear at public hearing

He showed inspectors from An Bord Pleanála and the project team from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) a photograph of Republic of Ireland and Wolverhampton defender Matt Doherty.

“He has played alongside some of the world greats. He has captained the Irish team. He also played on this green. This is where he started off,” Mr Arthurs said.

He also produced photos of mini soccer tournaments the parents in the 40-house estate organised for the children.

“Our greens are an inherent part of our estate and are crucial for the development of our children,” he said.

A neighbour, Denis O’Callaghan, who said he had worked in education, said studies had shown the negative impact of Covid on children who had been isolated, denied exercise and left stuck on laptops.

“For the sake of the children and for the sake of their development, it is most important that the small little green space they have is kept for them,” he said.

A quantity surveyor by profession, Mr Arthurs said he could not understand why a 105 metre stretch of the metro line was being routed through the estate or how it could take three years to build.

At that pace of construction, it would take 553 years to build all 19km of the MetroLink line, he said.

Even if construction teams were working at 10 locations simultaneously across the city, it would still take 55 years.

Mr Arthurs also questioned the routing of the line through the estate.

Estuary Court is bounded by the R132, a dual carriageway with wide verges which at its narrowest point is 42 metres across.

He said Fingal County Council had a plan to change the road from a busy distributor route to an ‘urban street’ with reduced traffic, new paths and cycle lanes.

He asked why the two projects could not be carried out together, with the road being narrowed, the tunnel being dug under the verges and the whole section then being reinstated with the paths and cycleways.

“There is a viable alternative to going through our greens,” he said.

“We welcome the MetroLink but there needs to be due consideration of the families.”

MetroLink representative James Maloney said all options for the route had been considered.

“We fully acknowledge the impact and we apologise for that but it’s the best location,” he said.

The hearing was also told that a three-year construction period was needed to allow for interruptions caused by R132 traffic.

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