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Sustainable transport Ireland

category dublin | environment | press release author Wednesday April 13, 2005 17:33author by Sustainable Transport Irelandauthor email stirl05 at yahoo dot com

'Comprehensive Alternative Plan for M3 Toll Scheme Presented at Sustainable Transport Conference'

An integrated solution to Dublin's congestion problems and a sustainable alternative to the controversial M3 toll road
One of 44 monuments in the Hill of Tara archaeological complex to be bulldozed
One of 44 monuments in the Hill of Tara archaeological complex to be bulldozed

An integrated solution to Dublin's congestion problems and a sustainable alternative to the controversial M3 toll road, which could used as a model for other parts of the country, were presented yesterday at a conference by Sustainable Transport Ireland (STI) working group at Buswell's Hotel, Dublin. The comprehensive three-part proposal was presented by:

- Transportation Specialist Cormac Rabbitt, who presented his Dargan Plan proposal for Dublin transport
- Transportion Researcher, Brian Guckian, who presented his NTC3 proposal for Meath
- Environmental Lawyer, Vincent Salafia, who detailed the unsustainability of the M3 project.

The propoals envisaged:

(1) Adopting the 'Dargan Project', a revolutionary integrated rail and bus system for Dublin city, developed by Cormac Rabbitt.
(2) Upgrading the existing N3 in Meath to a ' 2+1 scheme', with bypasses of Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells, which would be a more cost-effective, efficient and free alternative to a tolled motorway.

(3) Re-opening the Dublin to Navan and Kells railway line, supported by expanded coach services and a network of feeder minbus routes in Meath.

Among those present at the conference were; Progressive Democrats Senator Tom Morrissey; Green Party Transport Spokesperson, Eamon Ryan TD; Labour Party Tranport Spokeperson Roisin Shorthall' TDs assistant, Paul Cassidy; Ian Lumley of An Taisce; as well as representatives from The Railway Procurement Agency, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, and SIPTU.


At the conference, a practical vision for integrating Dublin's rail and bus network, using exisiting infrastructure, was presented by Cormac Rabbitt. The Dargan Project - named after William Dargan, the 19th century railway entrepreneur who built almost the entire Irish rail system, - would incorporate a south inner city tunnel and under-used rail lines in the north inner city to form the core of a new cost-effective metro system, which would also feature a link to Dublin Airport and new lines to Templeogue and Blanchardstown.

A new inner metro loop - which would connect the existing radial rail and bus routes into Dublin, and also allow for through running of mainline trains from Connolly Station to Heuston Station - together with the airport line would cost € 1.5 billion initially, and the overall project would cost € 3.5 billion to implement. Tunneling costs were based on reliable data used in the Dublin Port Tunnel project.

The proposal also features integrating existing radial and orbital bus routes on existing roads, providing an integrated transport 'web', united by a common ticketing system.

Mr Rabbitts expertise has been recognised by the Oireachtas Committee on Transport when they endorsed their recent reports that, "In our view, it would be useful if Rabbitt's extensive knowledge could be harnessed for the development of the Dublin Metro System".


The conference heard in a paper, presented by Brian Guckian, that the Dublin to Navan and Kells rail line could be re-opened in a viable manner by including a deviation to Ashbourne and Ratoath proposed by Meath County Council. Interconnected with a quality coach and mini-bus system, using smartcard technology, the scheme could reduce traffic on the existing N3 by up to two thirds annually and would cost less than two thirds of proposed motorway with later public transport improvements . The paper outlined how the reduced traffic load would eliminate the need for the motorway altogether and would facilitate upgrading of the N3 to "2 plus 1" format, which is a new pilot programme of the National Roads Authority based on the the latest European road technology from Sweden.
From 2004 NRA cost estimates, the 2 plus 1 road type costs € 03.6 million/km. In contrast, a wide motorway costs €10.7 million per kilometre. The massive savings could be spent on rail and other improvements, and obviate the opportunity for tolling. The paper also indicated how rail capacity in Dublin could be increased by re-opening the former Broadstone terminal in addition to the currently-proposed new terminal at Spencer Dock.
Mr. Guckian said: "This balanced approach to road and rail development could be applied nationally in the form of Transportation Corridors identified under the National Spatial Strategy, and would significantly reduce the negative effects of car dependency such as pollution, congestion, oil consumption and inappropriate development."


Vincent Salafia, gave a presentation entitled, 'The M3 - A Case Study in Unsustainabe Transport'. He discussed how the M3 toll scheme does not meet Irish and EU legal and policy requirements of sustainable development, and willl be challenged in the courts.
According to Mr Salafia, the M3 toll scheme fails all three pillars of sustainable development:

(1) It is unecessarily bad for environment, damaging the natural and built heritage of Meath, particularly the Hill of Tara.

(2) It is bad for society and transport users, with two tolls and no viable public transport alternatives available.

(3) It bad for business because it will only add to Dublin traffic gridlock, and tolls will discourage business in Meath.

At the conference, Mr Salafia said: "Ireland is required under EU law to deliver sustainable transport and development. Mr Rabbitt's and Mr Guckians's propsals present exciting new opportunities. They will not fall foul of the courts, since it complies with Irish and EU law."
STI will present the proo-poalso Minister for Transport Martin Cullen, and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dick Roche.
The aim of Sustainable Transport Ireland is to highlight the emerging crisis in transportation policy in Ireland, by detailing the major challenges and growing problems facing our policy-makers and ordinary people in regard to transportion.

Contact: Sharon O'Farrell: 087-419-6195 / 087-132-3365 or email for conference papers

* For NRA information on '2 plus 1' schemes see:

Comments (2 of 2)

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author by dunkpublication date Wed Apr 13, 2005 19:31author address author phone

government money goes into roads roads and more roads as there is a massive raod lobby group; those that build them, those that work in transporting goods etc

what is needed is the integrated rail plan as proposed by platform11 or something similar:
an orbital loop connecting all the rail lines

platform 11 were formed when the govt stated it woud build a metro from the city to the airport, this would not connect up the present lines, as the link tunnel under the phoenix park is not being used from heuston to connelly.

this development could go hand in hand with a greenway for dublin city

greening the city

dublin (and the greater area) integrated rail plan
dublin (and the greater area) integrated rail plan

greenway for dublin
greenway for dublin

author by Sustainable Transport Irelandpublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 06:37author email stirl05 at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone

IBEC - NRA Conference

Ireland's Roadmap 2010

2010 will see the familiar Irish roadmap consigned to history. Where today, mainroads meander across the land, the future pattern will be more dramatic, as radial motorways thrust out from Dublin.

And, in a very real way, the whole Island will shrink in scale, as journey times between major cities reduce dramatically. Transport productivity will be revolutionised for freight and commuters alike. In this new era for roads, transit performance - at least between cities - will be consistently safe and fast - largely eliminating current journeytime frustrations and uncertainties.

Against this ‘good news’ background, the main focus of the IBEC - NRA
conference will be on the implications of the Ireland 2010 roadmap for regional development, modal shift and for traffic and congestion management.

Another key issue to be considered will be the impact of our new spatial vision on the totality of the roads network, both North and

And, as the Republic’s Minister for Transport prepares his 10-year plan, IBEC will use this flagship event to launch its new policy
platform for road development to 2020.


09.15 Session 1


- Fred Barry, Chief Executive, National Roads Authority
- NDP National Roads Programme
– status review

- Cyril McHugh, Chief Executive, Society
of the Irish Motor Industry
- Cars and Commuters

- Peter Iles, Stratgic Transport Solutions, UK
- International Freight & Shipping

10.15 Session 2


- Enda Connellan, Chief Executive, Dublin Port and Chairman IBEC Transport Council

- Gerry Finn, Chief Executive, BMW Regional Assembly

- Scotland
Jim Barton, Roads Division, Scottish Executive

- Northern Ireland
Malcolm McKibbin, Roads Service, Department for Regional Development

11.15 Break
11.40 Open Forum with IBEC Regional Presidents
12.45 Lunch
14.00 Session 3


- Cathy Bryce, Chief Executive, Structured Finance, AIB Bank

- Antonio de Santiago Perals, Chief Executive, Eurolink Consortium

- Kyran Hurley, Managing Director, Roads Division, NTR Plc

15.00 Session 4


- Steve Williams, Traffic Operations Director, Highways Agency, England

- Hugh Finlay, Dublin Institute of Technology

- David McClelland, Edinburgh University / Opusune Logistics\?OpenDocument



1. Does the NRA / IBEC conference represent the privitisation of transportion policy in Ireland?

2. Is this the real car lobby?

3. Is this the hatching of the National Development Plan 2007-2010, or 2005-2020?

4. Is this pre-empting a properly informed public debate on the type of transportation system the whole countyr needs and wants and can afford?

5. Is this a 20 year funding scheme, worth tens of billions of euros, that is going through a one stop approval process by private interests, in partnership with the NRA?

6. Privitisation of the public road and transportation networks, an attack on rights of way and public space?

7. An openly orchestrated attempt to misappropriate public resources by private interests?

8. Is not public policy now being increasingly defined by private, undemocratic interests, operating at a level above public debate and politics?

9. Where are the social partners, and speakers who will address social and environmental priorities in transport?

10 Will we have private police, managing private roads, benefiting a small group of private investors, at the public expense?

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