A Metro Through the Dublin Port Tunnel

Letter to the Irish Times Sept 09


Given the recent deterioration in the public finances and the projected 3.1 billion Euro cost of the Airport Metro, might I put forward an alternative suggestion for consideration by the government. The suggestion is to build a bus tram from the airport via the port tunnel into the city. Bus Trams are basically Luas like trams that run on rubber wheels rather than steel rails. They were pioneered in the Brazilian city of Curitiba which is regarded as a model for modern urban transport.

Here is how it would work. The bus tram would run from the airport, across the long term car park and on to the M1 via a dedicated interchange. From there the bus-trams would run through the Port Tunnel to emerge in the port. A quick loop back takes them to within 100 yards of the Dart line where a new Dart station would be built to facilitate integration. From there the bus-trams run through the port, close to the Point where they integrate with the Tallaght Luas line and then over a dedicated lifting bridge that spans both the Liffey and the Dodder to the south side of the Quays. From there it is a question of picking a path through the city to Pearse Station and then on to Stephen’s Green for a link up with the Sandyford Luas line – thereby saving the 300 million Euro cost of linking up the two Luas lines also.

So to summarise. For the price of one small motorway interchange, one new Dart Station, one new bridge and some extra bus lanes, we get an integrated transport system for Dublin – and we get to put the 800 million Euro Port Tunnel to some good use.

Shane Hayes


Allowing All Semi Detached House Owners to Build in Their Gardens

In this article I am going to put forward a simple idea that would allow the population of Dublin increase by up to 250,000 with zero or very little investment in infrastructure such as roads, sewage, schools, shopping centres and electricity, while at the same time making housing affordable for young people. This same idea would also reduce the need for the elderly to go into nursing homes and provide ready access to child care and babysitting for young couples, as well as make a significant contribution to the fight against global warming. Big claim? Well let me set out the idea. Basically, the government should decide that as a matter of public policy, it wants to encourage owners of the classic Irish three and four bed “Semi D” with attached garage to turn the space occupied by the garage and a little bit of the back garden into another housing unit… Oh and this is the best bit. Even if only 10% of eligible houses were built per year, this would release €5 billion in “wealth” into the economy every year, not to mention €2 billion of primary direct spend with builders every year which, in turn, would generate secondary spend throughout the economy.