An Board Pleanála opens hearing into Civic Plaza plans for College Green

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock has likened the plans to an "enlarged, glorified footpath"

An Board Pleanála opens hearing into Civic Plaza plans for College Green

An aerial view of proposed plans for a plaza on Dublin's College Green | Image: Dublin City Council

Plans for a Civic Plaza at College Green in Dublin city are being discussed by An Board Pleanála.

An oral hearing gets underway on Monday morning in the Hotel Riu Plaza the Gresham on O'Connell Street.

The project would see College Green redeveloped and pedestrianised.

As part of the plans, buses may be banned from using the Luas Cross City Line roadway - while cars and taxis may also be prohibited from the area.

It would mean all traffic, including buses and taxis would be blocked from accessing Dame Street through College Green.

An Bord Pleanála was due to hold public hearings on the €10m project in January, however the meeting was postponed due to errors in a newspaper notice.

An aerial view of proposed plans for a plaza on Dublin's College Green | Image: Dublin City Council

The Green Party has called for the construction of the proposed plaza for Dublin's College Green.

The party's Councillor Ciarán Cuffe is one of three public representatives who made a submission to the board.

Speaking ahead of the hearings, he said: "This is a unique opportunity to give Dublin a civic plaza that we can all be proud of.

"For far too long College Green has been dominated by noise and pollution from cars, trucks and buses.

"(Today's) hearing will hear of the benefits for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users."

He added: "Currently the east-west movement of vehicles through College Green slows down buses, trams and pedestrians.

"It also causes safety issues for more vulnerable road users. Building the plaza will reduce these risks and allow for a radical overhaul of bus routes in the capital.

"Currently one-third of all buses pass through College Green every day. Dublin Bus has been reluctant to change their routes to meet the needs of the travelling public in the 21st century.

"They need to work with the National Transport Authority to fast-track the changes promised by the overdue 'Bus Connects' route review and ensure that destinations such as Dublin's Docklands and the outer suburbs are better connected by bus."

"Glorified footpath"

While Fine Gael TD for Dublin North-West, Noel Rock, has slammed the plan.

He claimed Dublin City Council has pushed ahead "with a farce that should be paused immediately".

Deputy Rock said: "This plan is a farce, especially against the backdrop of current transport frustrations being experienced by Dublin commuters.

"This plan will severely discommode commuters who use Dublin Bus to get into the city - which is still the single biggest mode of public transport in Dublin - and the unelected Dublin City officials would be well advised to remember that.

"For residents right across the north side, there are no public transport alternatives to the bus, and this plan threatens to result in the rerouting of bus services for many in order to facilitate the whims of a few.

"This plan should be paused with immediate effect until Dublin City and Dublin Bus come together to outline and properly test how the alternative plans would work in practice".

Mr Rock added: "The commuters of Dublin have to put up with enough as it is - knocking their buses out of the core city centre in order to facilitate an enlarged, glorified footpath is really an insult to people who are already suffering with lengthy commutes."