Position Statement of Inchicore on Track on the Dart Interconnector Project

Article Posted: Sunday 19th July, 2009

The following is the Position Statement of Inchicore on Track in regard Irish Rail Plan to extend the Dart Undergorund project to Inchicore from Heuston Station:


The Inchicore Railway Estate is a residential estate of approximately 240 homes, and is along with the
Inchicore Railway Works, a remarkable set piece of nineteenth century industrial planning and
vernacular architecture, which has survived largely intact, giving a strong sense of community and
belonging to the residents of the area. This area is of national importance in heritage and conservation
terms and in relation to the history of modern transport infrastructure in Ireland.





CIE Residents Association and Inchicore on Track

The CIE Residents Association is a long established organisation that represents the residents of the
Inchicore Railway Estate (also known as the CIE Estate).

On April 20th 2009 at the Hilton Hotel, Kilmainham, Irish Rail hosted a ‘public consultation’ as part of it’s
Dart Underground project, It was in this forum that it announced for the first time that it intended to apply
for a Railway Order in September, for a radical plan to tunnel from Heuston to Inchicore, that would
surface in a construction site in the middle of the Inchicore Railway Estate. In effect giving just over four
months notice on a project of national significance.

In response the CIE Residents Association held a public meeting one week later, on Monday April 27th
that was attended by in excess of 200 people and all the public representatives of the area. There was
a sense of outrage and shock at the extent, hastiness and impact of Irish Rail’s proposals. At this
meeting a call was made for volunteers to form a group to respond to the plan. Over 30 people came forward and the first meeting was held on Thursday April 30th at which “Inchicore on Track” was
adopted as the name of the group and John Beck of North Terrace was elected as chairperson.
Residents from nearby areas affected by the alignment of the proposed tunnel have also joined the group, including residents from Inchicore Road, Sarsfield Road, Woodfield and Murrays Cottages.

Inchicore on Track - Mission Statement

To campaign and lobby to ensure that the route alignment and portal position for the Dart Underground chosen by An Bord Pleanala west of Heuston Station has the
absolute minimum impact on residents and their homes while maintaining and preserving local communities, heritage and the environment.

Inchicore on Track requires that Irish Rail conduct an open and transparent consultation process that engages in a meaningful way with local communities.


Inchicore on Track Position Statement

The Inchicore Railway Estate

1. Inchicore on Track seeks the conservation, protection and enhancement of this unique place,
recognising it as a model of nineteenth century, sustainable development and urban planning
which has nourished a vibrant and close knit community. We support only those developments
and proposals that seek to sustain this into the future.

Integrated Public Transport

2. In recognition of the importance of integrated public transport, Inchicore on Track wants to see
the very best option chosen, one that promotes the greatest benefit and the least harm, an option in which the construction and operation of the Dart Underground would have the absolute minimum impact on heritage and the environment and the health, homes and lives of
residents.

The decision to consider the ‘Inchicore option’ was taken as recently as December 2008,
presented to the board of CIE in February 2009 and announced publicly in April 2009. We do
not believe that the period of time from late 2008 to April 2009 is sufficient for ALL the
alternatives to Heuston to have been examined. It appears that the only options examined were
those involving the use of land currently in the ownership of CIE. A project of such importance
should not be planned in such a hasty way.

Consultation Process

3. We require a serious and meaningful consultation process that is designed in conjunction with
local communities. We demand that Irish Rail recognises local communities and their
representative organisations, as stakeholders and partners in the environmental decision
making process and in any future developments in the area. We are dissatisfied with the partial,
drip feed of information and the burden put on residents to find out details of this project in a
painstaking and piecemeal fashion.

We demand that CIE and Irish Rail postpone their current target for a Railway Order application
until a real consultation process is established and all the options examined.

Alignment and Vent (Emergency Intervention Shaft)

4. The current proposed alignment is unacceptable because of the risk that is posed to people’s
homes, by tunnel boring works that are substantially closer to the ground level of properties
than is the case in any other part of the city. Most of these properties were built in the
nineteenth century and many have insubstantial foundations.

The position of the Emergency Intervention Shaft at Inchicore Road as part of this alignment is
unacceptable because we think the risk to homes and the disruption it would cause to people’s
lives, both during the construction and operational phases. We question the feasibility and
appropriateness of this location in a back garden in the event of an emergency or disaster
which may involve up to 1400 plus people. We request that Irish Rail give serious consideration
to other alternatives.

Portal and Construction Site

5. The current proposed location of the portal construction site in the heart of a residential area is
unacceptable because we think it would have an invasive, disruptive and detrimental impact on
the Inchicore Estate and the lives and health of its people during the construction and operational phases. A residential area is simply not suitable to host work of this scale and duration. This is compounded by the loss of amenities and green areas for local residents,
sports clubs and school. The quality of life of the residents would be severely compromised for
a period in excess of 5 years.

Station

6. The current proposed position of the station in the middle of an industrial complex is highly
questionable and would appear to be based on expedience and opportunism, rather than on
any audited or verifiable local transport requirements. It would be disconnected from Inchicore
village, would not provide sufficient public access and would most probably become a haven for
anti-social behaviour. We question whether it complies with internationally recognised best
practice for the provision of public transport.

We would support a station location in Inchicore that was chosen on the basis of local transport
needs and situated in such a way that it would not adversely affect the lives of local residents or
the existing dynamics of local communities,

Environmental Impact and Independent Advice

7. The environmental impact of this project is not known. We require that information relating to
the environmental impact assessment that is relevant to or touches upon our areas of concern
is passed on to Inchicore on Track as it becomes available.

We expect independent expert advice on technical aspects of the proposals such as the
alignment, the position of the portal and construction site, geology, tunnelling, railway engineering, the Heuston option, traffic management and other issues that might arise. The environmental impact statement should not issue, until such time as we have received this
advice and had the opportunity to participate in the assessment.

Funding for the Project/PPP and Future Development

8. We have grave concerns about the proposed funding for the project. The track record of the
use of public private partnerships to deliver major infrastructural projects in Ireland is mixed.
The current economic climate compounds the community’s anxiety around the deliverability of
such a project. Furthermore it is recognised that the failure of PPP’s has left real communities
in untenable situations for extended periods of time. We are aware that a successful Railway
Order application would give Irish Rail a ten- year window in which to commence the project.

We are concerned, given the current national economic and budgetary situation, that the community may have to live with an extended period of uncertainty and distress while awaiting the commencement of the project, should the Railway Order be granted. There is growing
recognition that the position and viability of the station only makes sense in the context of the
rezoning and development of the industrially zoned Works complex. That the provision of a station would be linked to a new PPP scheme to develop large portions of the Inchicore Railway Works or other lands in the ownership of CIE is extremely worrying. We require
assurance that this is not on CIE’s agenda.

Immediate and Ongoing Impact

9. The current proposal for the construction of the DART underground is already having a
detrimental impact on residents. In attempting to come to terms with the enormous impact of
this project, the huge information deficit and the urgent timeframe, very considerable time and
effort is being put in by residents in discussions, meetings and committees. Residents are
experiencing anxiety, stress, insecurity, invasion of their privacy and a negative impact on the
present value of their homes.

This situation could be significantly relieved by the immediate establishment of a formal and
effective consultation and participation process.