Update on Porterstown Road

Last week, I wrote to Minister Varadkar and asked him to make public information he had spoken about in local media where he stated that the Porterstown Road level crossing is the 54th most dangerous in the country.

Minister Varadkar has provided myself and other local representative with the relevant information from Irish Rail, which you can see below.

My thanks to the Minister for responding quickly.

Irish Rail – Porterstown Safety Record

Varadkar must publish any evidence that Porterstown level crossing is dangerous

Last week, the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar made a claim in the Blanch Gazette that the Porterstown Road level crossing is the 59th most dangerous in the country. I’ve written to Minister Varadkar to ask him make the information upon which this figure is based available to the public. I think this is important, as it will allow the public and local representatives assess the information in making their decision on the level crossing.

The proposal to close the Porterstown Road, which so far has not been backed up by any evidence from Irish Rail or the National Transport Agency, has caused major upset for residents living along the road and in the wider Clonsilla area. This was demonstrated by the near unanimous opposition to the proposal at the public meeting I attended on the 25th November in St. Mochta’s NS.

If there are safety concerns, these are absolutely relevant to the decision. However, these need to be published so the public can see and assess any available evidence related to safety. This will allow the local community and in turn their elected representatives on Fingal County Council make an informed decision. It is not good enough for Minister Varadkar to make a comment about safety to a local news paper and just leave it at that.

I feel that Irish Rail and the National Transport Authority have gone about this entire process in the wrong way. Rather than meeting the local community and explaining their concerns about the level crossing, they have employed a totally top down approach which seems to be an attempt to avoid any engagement with the public. Both agencies need to completely rethink how they interact with local communities in the future.

I hope Minister Varadkar will publish the specific report in which Porterstown is listed as the 59th most dangerous level crossing in the country and that he makes this available to all elected representatives in the Dublin 15 area and to the local group that opposes the closure of the crossing.

No evidence to support proposal to close Porterstown Road

I’ve made a submission to Fingal County Council calling on it to reject the proposal to extinguish the right of way on the Porterstown Road. I have also made a separate submission, outlining the major problems with the proposed pedestrian bridge.

The Council has completely failed to prove the need for this extinguishment. Arguments about health and safety are not proved as there is no evidence of any significant health and safety risks posed by the current automatic level crossing system, which has operated successfully for a considerable period of time.

Any desire to speed up services along the Maynooth rail line is also not backed up with specific evidence at this point. The diesel trains currently using the line have to stop at both Coolmine and Clonsilla stations, and are not losing significant time by slowing at the level crossing. There are no definitive plans for the electrification of this line, so arguments related to this point are unsubstantiated.

I’m also concerned that the proposal makes no adequate arrangements for dealing with dumping and associated anti-social behaviour that will likely result from creating two isolated cul-de-sacs as a result of the extinguishment.

Finally the proposal will create a major accessibility barrier for people moving between Clonsilla, the lower Porterstown Road and estates in Diswellstown. A significant number of children would currently use this road travelling to and from the nearby primary and secondary schools. The proposed pedestrian bridge is completely unsuitable as it cannot be used by bicycles and buggies, not to mention wheelchairs.

Residents in the area have made it very clear that they oppose the proposal as currently stated. I hope the Council takes these views into consider when it makes its decision.