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Dublin tunnel on hold as locals demand independent review


LOCAL RESIDENTS have forced Dublin Corporation to ask the President of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland to appoint an independent expert reviewer for site investigation plans on the controversial Port Dublin Tunnel project.

The Corporation announced the decision to bring in Professor Jane Grimson after its attempts to start site investigation on its £160M road tunnel had to be abandoned because of direct action by local residents from the Marino Development part of the city.

Scuffles broke out last Monday morning as protesters climbed on to contractors' drilling rigs, preventing work at two locations. To avoid further confrontation, engineers called for negotiations.

The work has been suspended for up to four weeks while conditions for the borehole drilling are agreed.

The Marino Development Action Group has demanded that a full structural survey be carried out on houses close to the borehole site before and after drilling. The group claimed this would cost about £100,000. But the Corporation insists there is no risk of damage to property.

The residents have also demanded that the site investigation be carried out by an independent company. Grimson's involvement, they said, goes some way to satisfying this demand.

A spokesman for MDAG Fintan Cassidy said: 'We are delighted the Corporation has suspended the drilling work. It is its first concession in four years but it should not have required direct action.'

Dublin Corporation deputy project engineer Hugh Creegan said the Corporation regretted that the residents felt moved to take direct action. It would be having meetings with the residents 'in an effort to reassure them', he added.

Dublin Corporation engineers have suspended industrial action this week after managers agreed to halt the creation of new senior engineer and area manager posts and to allow discussion with engineers union SIPTU to continue. SIPTU wants the Corporation restructuring carried out in line with nationwide local authority changes.

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