Limerick residents lose privacy to Foynes rail project

Some of the clearance work along the Limerick/Foynes rail line. Photo: Brian Leddin/Twitter

LIMERICK councillors have criticised the fact that residents in Dooradoyle have had their privacy and security stripped away as Irish Rail contractors tore away trees, hedges and other vegetation away to clear the railway line to Foynes.

Former Mayor, Cllr Daniel Butler pointed out that the rail line runs through Dooradoyle and to the immediate rear of many homes who now have seen “the back of their homes and their lives changed completely”

“I have been contacted by a number of residents who are extremely upset to see trees and hedgerows that offered them security and privacy now destroyed. For residents close to the M20 this vegetation offered noise mitigation where noise was already an issue as identified by a Limerick Council study,” Cllr Butler told the Limerick Post.
“The residents understand that the line is to be reopened but, considering at points, there is only two metres between their back wall and the line, the fact there was no consultation was disappointing. All we are now looking for is some mitigation measures like replanting and fencing to address their very reasonable concerns,” he added.
The line is to be reopened as part of the Foynes Railway Project that runs into Limerick City in of the overall development plan for Foynes Harbour.
“I support the reopening of the line and believe in time it may even offer a viable passenger service but I also believe that locals directly impacted should get treated with respect and consideration.”

Labour Party councillor Joe Leddin has urged the Council to request a briefing from Irish Rail on their plans to upgrade the disused railway line located in Dooradoyle.

“Since the rail line closed many new housing estates have been built including Kilteragh, Glencairin and Springfields. With trees and overgrowth for many years, on or beside the disused railway line, the residents in these housing estates had some form of protection from the traffic on the southern ring road motorway.

“Residents are now concerned regarding motorway traffic noise, the impact of trains and anti-social behaviour with all vegetation being cleared,” Cllr Leddin explained.

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The City West representative has called on Irish Rail to brief councillors on what actions they plan to take to mitigate the impact for residents living adjacent to the railway line, and to provide some form of communications update as work progresses on the upgrade of the line.

“Many residents who have contacted me tried unsuccessfully to speak with the relevant officials in Irish Rail.

“Irish Rail must now engage in a meaningful way with residents and address the concerns as they arise and this can be done through periodic communications to keep residents and the wider community updated as works progress,” he insisted.

Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely described it a “tale of one city and two views”.

“People in Rathbane and Janesboro are very happy to see the lines being cleaned up,” she said.

In response, Irish Rail said that they did advise at the outset of works last month that vegetation clearance would be an essential element of preparation for the reopening of the Limerick to Foynes line for freight traffic.

“We have advised residents along the route in advance of these works, but regret that due to a contractor issue, this did not happen in this particular location.”