Ireland should look to Europe for expertise to help get Metrolink built, according to the Italian Ambassador.
Paolo Serpi, who is approaching the end of his four-year term as Italian Ambassador to Ireland, said Europe wants to see Ireland getting stronger – and public transport is one of the most important issues facing the country.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Ambassador Serpi said he has watched on as different Governments aimed to put housing and construction at the top of the agenda and said other European countries could help, “where necessary and if useful”.
“In this important effort - I mean 33,000 new houses every year for ten years, it is a very important effort for Ireland - there is also the question of transport and the question of strengthening Dublin - the capital - in a particular moment, which is Brexit.
“Ireland is the north-western border of Europe. This is something very important and we are all, as Europeans, interested that Ireland gets stronger. I mean, each new member must get stronger because we have a common interest; we have a common house together – whatever you want to call it; a community, a union; whatever.”
Ambassador Serpi said there are now five metro lines in Rome, a city where builds are extremely complicated due to the city’s history and archaeology.
“We are a common market,” he said. “If I find an Irish engineer that can help me to do something an Italian engineer can’t do, then I will do it, that is the point.”
“I am 64-years-old and I have seen in a problematic city like Rome - 2,000 or more years old with a street structure you can’t change - they started in the 60s, the first line to connect Ostia with the centre. Then, after more or less 20 years, they started building Lines A and B … this is the situation of Rome and I used it as an example because it is one of the most complicated cities in Europe.”
He said Ireland first began talking about Dublin’s metro underground at the same time as Denmark was planning an underground for Copenhagen.
The Copenhagen Metro opened in 2002 – after it was constructed with Italian help.
“I am sincere - I am the Italian ambassador so I am promoting Italy, it is my job - but it doesn’t matter if it is done by the Italians or whatever other European country,” said Ambassador Serpi.
He said he has been living in Lucan since he arrived in Ireland and, while there is a lot of housing construction going on, the transport system remains unchanged.
“Already, Lucan is a bit congested with the traffic in the evening and the early morning,” he said. “I think they are building houses for 40,000 or 50,000 more people but relying on the same transport system.
“If they say, OK we can think about increasing transport in ten years’ time, it will be difficult, at least, as a situation.”
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