Press Statement on DLR Plans to Abandon S2S

Supporters of the S2S are urged to make a submission to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown  Council objecting to this proposal and calling on them to reinstate the S2S on the seafront in the Draft Development Plan 2022-2028.   Here is a link to a press-statement that was issued yesterday.

The closing date for submissions is the 16th April 2021.  Those wishing to do so may log into the following DLR website and scrolling down to ON-LINE SUBMISSION:

DLRCC Set to Abandon the S2S – Submissions Required by 16th April 2021

The S2S has been an Objective of DLR Development Plans since 2004. That is now set to change. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has published a Draft of the Development Plan for 2022-2028.  It proposes to abandon the S2S on the seafront and replace it with the East Coast Trail, which is not on the seafront but inland on existing roads and does not include a walkway.  The issue is discussed in more detail in the attached paper.

Supporters of the S2S are urged to make a submission to the Council objecting to this proposal and calling on them to reinstate the S2S on the seafront. 

The closing date for submissions is the 16th April 2021.  Those wishing to do so may log into the following DLR website and scrolling down to on-line submission.

Dublin Port and the S2S -Dec 2020

The Dublin Port Company has recently published an update to their 2012 Masterplan for the Port.  There are major overall improvements to the way the Port operates. This makes it possible to incorporate facilities for pedestrians and cyclists which do not currently exist. The plan proposes a 3.2km pedestrian/cycleway on the entire north coast of the Port along the Tolka Estuary from the existing Ferry Port to Bond Road. It could continue another 900m at the East Wall Business Park to join Alfie Byrne Road (the Tolka Estuary Greenway).  It also includes exciting proposals for the critical 1.4km of the S2S that passes through the Port from the River Liffey to the Tolka Estuary (the Liffey-Tolka Project).  This would provide a safe, segregated greenway from Thomas Clark Bridge (East Link Bridge) to the existing S2S at Alfie Byrne Road.

The Plan also makes it possible to provide links to other existing and proposed greenways on both sides of the Liffey.  On the north there is an opportunity to link directly to the Clontarf seafront with a cycle/pedestrian bridge across the Tolka Estuary.  There is also a plan to provide safe pedestrian and cycle links to historic and new visitor attractions within the Port itself. 

Dublin City Council have intentions to build a new cycle/pedestrian bridge across the Liffey beside the East Link Bridge. They are also proposing a public transport bridge (including cycle and pedestrian lanes) over the Dodder/Grand Canal outlet to link to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay to Poolbeg and the S2S in the South Bay via Ringsend Park.

The combination and co-ordination of these exciting proposals by the Dublin Port Company, Dublin City Council and Eastpoint Business Park would provide a very good solution to a very challenging set of problems that would satisfactorily complete the S2S at this critical junction of the Port and the city centre and the North and South side of the city.  It will transform what is now a hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists into one that is safe and welcoming. 

Here is a link to a short paper that gives more detail on the project

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our supporters a quiet and safe Christmas!

Kind Regards,

Michael Collins                 


Sutton to Sandycove Walkway and Cycleway


New Cycle and Walkways Sandymount to Sandycove – The S2S at last? -August 2020

As the saying goes – it’s an ill wind that blows no good.  The Covid 19 pandemic is a case in point.  It has inflicted death and misery on communities and seriously damaged economies across the world.  Coping with this disaster comes on top of the urgent need to tackle the ever-increasing problems of global warming.  The combination of these two has caused us all to think seriously about the way we live, travel, work and play.  We should not become despondent however- there are things we can do to turn these problems around.

On the positive side the crises have enabled authorities to experiment with previously unthinkable measures to deal, not only with the Covid 19 pandemic, but also to make it attractive for people to shift from motor cars to walking and cycling so as to reduce carbon emissions and improve their health and welfare.  Examples of such experiments are the recent works undertaken by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) to provide temporary segregated cycleways and improved walkways in Blackrock itself and between Blackrock and Sandycove.  Similar measures are also planned by Dublin City Council between Ringsend and Merrion Gates.  The transformation has surprised most people. Blackrock has changed from being a place that was dominated by traffic at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists to one in which pedestrians and cyclists can feel relaxed and welcome.  While acknowledging that there are some relatively small issues that need to be resolved, the Councils, together with the National Transport Authority, are to be commended for their actions. They must take encouragement from the positive reaction of the local community and traders, many of whom were instrumental in promoting the idea in the first place. 

Many people are wondering if these works are part of the missing sections the Sutton to Sandycove Promenade and Walkway (S2S) in South Dublin Bay and can they be regarded as such. The answer is that some parts would form important sections of the S2S while others do not.  The 1.8 km section between Dun Laoghaire Harbour and Sandycove would fulfill most of the criteria for the S2S and can be regarded as such.  Likewise, the works proposed by DCC for the 2.7 km between Sean Moore Road and Merrion Gates would, depending on the resolution of the outstanding issues and the detailed design, also meet the key criteria. For other sections of the S2S however the temporary works do not fulfill the basic criteria.  Those other sections are, nonetheless, to be welcomed as part of the on-road commuter cycle routes.  There is no conflict between those on-road sections and the completion of the S2S on the seafront.

It is important to understand the difference between the S2S and the temporary cycleway/walkway that has been created on the existing road between Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire. The S2S in South Dublin Bay was conceived as a combined walkway and cycleway outside the railway line on the seafront.  It would be level, noise and pollution free with no traffic junctions, pedestrian crossings nor vehicle entrances and exits. It provides the capability of cycling or walking from Dun Laoghaire to Dublin City center without having to cross paths with motorized vehicles in any significant way. It is envisaged as primarily a leisure/health facility with obvious uses as a traffic free route for children and less experienced cyclists as well as commuter cyclists.  It can play a vital role in creating a whole new generation of cyclists in a way that no other facility could do. It gives people the possibility to walk along the edge of Dublin Bay and enjoy the amenity without having to walk on the strand.

The new Cyclway at Seapoint Avenue – Good, but not quite the S2S

These new Covid-19 initiatives – in both DCC and DLR – provide the ideal opportunity to combine the S2S with the necessary Coastal Protection of the railway between Merrion Gates and Dun Laoghaire Harbour and separately  to combine the equally important Commuter Cycleway with the Bus Connects project inland on the existing roads. This has successfully been done in other countries, why not here?  It is a no brainer as many people would say, and we need to ensure it does happen here.

Michael Collins. email:


Sutton to Sandycove Promenade and Cycleway.

Malahide Estuary- Important decision by An Bord Pleanala- June 2020


An Bord Pleanala recently approved an application by Fingal County Council to build a walkway and cycleway alongside the railway across the Malahide Estuary.  The decision to approve the proposal in an area that is designated as an SAC and an SPA is significant and comes as a welcome surprise to many who believed that such a proposal could not or would not be approved.  The decision is important in illustrating how such applications can be successful.

Railway viaduct across Broadmeadow Estuary, Malahide

As part of its decision, the Bord concluded – “The development would result in significant positive impacts/benefits on Population and Human Health arising out of the delivery of a recreational amenity, which would bring health benefits by encouraging an active lifestyle in the form of cycling and walking. The proposal would also attract visitors into the area which would result in a positive benefit to tourism and the economy of the area. It would also improve connectivity between Malahide and Donabate. The linking of the proposed greenway into the wider walking and cycle network would be greatly positive in that it would encourage users to arrive by bicycle or foot, reducing car dependency and minimising impacts on existing traffic. As complementary infrastructure is delivered, the proposed development would have a positive cumulative impact.”……..

“Impacts on biodiversity including key ecological receptors of wintering water bird species, mammals including bats, natural and seminatural habitats, watercourses, could arise from human disturbance, habitat modification, accidental spillages of construction related contaminants or release of sediment laden water runoff during construction.  Mitigation measures to be applied follow a mitigation hierarchy of avoidance where possible and mitigation by design and remedy with monitoring measures also to be implemented.  Possible significant disturbance to birds would be prevented due to the timing of construction works, the proposed continuous solid wall providing screening along the viaduct, proposed lighting design and measures including fencing to prevent egress of people and in particular, loose dogs onto the shoreline.  Pollution control measures would prevent deterioration of riparian, estuarine and coastal habitats.  With the application of mitigation measures, there would be no adverse effects on sites designated for nature conservation including Malahide Estuary SAC and SPA.”

The following further points from the reports and decision are relevant to the S2S:

  • The application was very carefully prepared, dealing with all aspects of the issue.
  • The decision of the Bord was to accept the Inspectors report and recommendations in full which in turn accepted the report of the Bord’s Ecologist. 
  • Despite expressions of concern in some submissions about the possible negative impact on the SAC and SPA, the decision is clear and unambiguous in accepting that the project will have no such negative impact.
  • It was accepted that the birds are disturbed by dogs running loose and not by people walking or cycling along a pathway that is separated from the habitat by a wall that is 1.2 m high.
  • It was accepted the benefits to the environment and the health and welfare of the community of a traffic free cycleway and walkway were significant and were a factor in the decision to approve
  • It was also acknowledged that the proposed facility would be significant in promoting the modal shift from car transport to cycling and walking.
  • The benefits for tourism and the local community was also noted as important.
  • The fact that Fingal County Council had included the development of a cycleway and walkway across the estuary as an objective in their current Development Plan was also a significant supporting factor. 

So, will this decision affect the prospects for the S2S in South Dublin Bay?  While it must be noted that An Bord Pleanala decides each case on its merits, there are a great number of similarities between the two projects. 

  • Both the Malahide Estuary project and the S2S involve the construction of a cycleway and walkway alongside an existing railway line. 
  • The Malahide Estuary and South Dublin Bay are both designated as an SPA and SAC.
  • Possible disturbance of the birds during construction and in use are the main issues for consideration. 
  • All of the issues that have been raised as concerns in relation to the S2S have also been raised and resolved in the case of the Malahide Estuary. 
  • Most of the mitigation measures adopted for the Malahide Estuary project have already been proposed for the S2S in South Dublin Bay.

It will take some time to study the decision in detail but what is clear is that, despite the view that is widely held in some quarters,  it is possible to obtain an approval from An Bord Pleanala for such projects provided the application is clear and comprehensive and demonstrates that there is no significant negative impact on the habitats.  This application shows how that can be achieved.

The following is a link to the decision documents

Michael Collins

for S2S

Support Needed Now – May 2019

The Sutton to Sandycove Promenade and Cycleway (S2S) proposes a 22km traffic free, level, walkway and cycleway on the seafront around Dublin Bay. The section from Sutton to East Wall is complete since 2017, but nothing has been achieved so far in Dublin Bay South. That is about to change.

Within the past year or so, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has commissioned three different studies, each of which relates in some way to the (S2S) project. They are: (a) Bus Connects, (b) the Coastal Protection of the Railway and (c) the S2S between Dun Laoghaire and Sandymount. There appears however to be little co-ordination between these bodies in relation to the S2S. The published plans for the Bus Connects show the S2S, not on the seafront, but on the Merrion Road between Booterstown and Merrion Gates and there is no instruction to Irish Rail to consider it on the seafront as part of their Coastal Protection project.  The case for considering the S2S with the Coastal Protection of the Railway is compelling and we are at a loss to understand why that is not being considered. We attach a paper that sets out the case for doing that here. We are convinced that, if this approach is not taken, a unique opportunity to complete the S2S as an unbroken traffic free, environmentally friendly walkway and cycleway on the seafront in the South Dublin Bay will be lost for at least a generation, if not forever. The NTA has sought submissions from the public on the Bus Connects proposals, to be submitted by the 31st May. Details can be found here . Supporters who believe that the S2S should be on the seafront and not on the Merrion Road, should make a submission to NTA before the deadline.

Funds allocated for part of the S2S in South Dublin Bay – February 2019

Councillor Ossian Smyth (Green Party) Cathaoirleach, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) has announced that €17.5m has been allocated by the National Transport Authority (NTA) for the section of the East Coast Greenway between Merrion Gates and Dun Laoghaire Harbour. This is very welcome news.

It is proposed that 2.5kms of the route between Merrion Gates and Blackrock will be inside the railway line, partly on the Merrion Road and partly in Blackrock Park which is not the route planned for the S2S while the remaining section between Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire Harbour will be on the seafront which coincides with the planned route for the S2S.

NTA have also agreed with Dublin City Council (DCC) to proceed to the next stage of the Greenway between Ringsend and the Merrion Gates. This is also on the seafront and coincides with the planned route for the S2S.

DCC and DLRCC have been working independently on the preliminary stages up to now but it has been agreed that the two councils will cooperate on the next stages and that the work will be led by DLRCC on behalf of both. As a preliminary step, bird counts have commenced along the coast from Ringsend to Dun Laoghaire. The process of drafting a brief on which tenders will be sought for the full environmental study and design work has started. This is also a positive news.

In a completely separate development, Irish Rail (also with the support of NTA) have announced that it is undertaking a study of the coastal protection of the Dublin-Rosslare railway line. This study includes the 4.5kms of coastline from Merrion Gates to Dun Laoghaire which coincides with the proposed route for the S2S.

There is therefore a significant overlap between Coastal Protection Project being pursued by Irish Rail with the Greenway project being undertaken by DCC and DLRCC. There are a number of potential benefits for both in co-operating on these projects. It is not clear however what co-ordination is occurring. It is to be hoped that if it is not already happening it will happen soon.

Michael Collins for S2S

S2S – New Plans Proposed -May 2018.

Following a meeting between The National Transport Authority (NTA) and Councillors from Dublin City Council, (DCC) and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council (DLRCC), agreement has been reached on a new approach to advance the S2S project. This would complete two further sections on the seafront; one between Irishtown and Merrion Gates and the other between Blackrock and Seapoint and is an exciting prospect for supporters of the S2S.

The agreement follows the publication of a study carried out by the NTA in 2016 and public comments on it in January 2017. While much of what is now proposed remains the same as the 2016 proposals, there are also significant differences that seek to address the most contentious parts of those proposals:

  1. A new cycleway alongside the existing promenade on the seafront between Sean Moore Park and Merrion Gates, as before. (c 2.0kms)
  2. The proposed flyover at Merrion Church/ Merrion Hall to allow the permanent closure of the Merrion Gates will not now proceed.  It is acknowledged that there will be increased delays to road traffic when the frequency of Dart services increases in September 2018.  There appears to be no viable solution to the problem at this time.
  3. Provide improved cycle ways and footpaths on the Rock Road between Merrion Gates and Booterstown Dart Station, as before.
  4. Improve the existing shared cycleway and walkway through Blackrock Park between Booterstown Station and Blackrock, as before.
  5. The 2016 proposal to make Seapoint Ave one-way for road traffic will not now proceed. A new seafront walkway and cycleway will be provided between Blackrock and Seapoint in place of the walkway (only) on the seafront.  (c1.2kms)
  6. It is proposed that (with the support of the NTA) Dublin City Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council  will proceed with the development of these proposals under Part 8  of the Planning Acts.  This sets down the procedures for local authorities to carry out public works within their own areas and will involve development of the designs and the necessary environmental studies as the first steps.
  7. The NTA has undertaken to provide funding for the project.

Part of the new route between Blackrock and Maretimo which will be behind the sea wall.

While supporters of the S2S will be disappointed that the whole of the route is not on the seafront and that the proposals in respect of the section between Merrion Gates and Blackrock are less than ideal, it has to be acknowledged that these new proposals will see the completion of approximately 3.2 kms of the amenity on the seafront. This would be the first section of the S2S to be undertaken in South Dublin Bay and a significant step towards the achievement of the overall project, for which we should all be grateful to the NTA and the Councils of DCC and DLRCC.  We hope everyone will get behind this initiative.

Further information can be found in this article by Olivia Kelly in the Irish Times of 4th June 2016

Michael Collins and Clara Clark

for:  Sutton to Sandycove Promenade and Cycleway

Boost for S2s following DLRCC Elections –

In his acceptance speech following his election as Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Cllr on 19th June 2017, Cllr Tom Murphy made the completion of the S2S his first priority:

“I suppose some of the things I’d like to see happen during my term of office and which I’d like to promote.  The first item I would like to see us promoting is the S2S; I think that it is really important that’s progressed very far throughout Dublin itself.  We’re very important and one of the final links of that and it’s something I think all the Members will agree that it would be something that would be fantastic from a tourism point of view but also linking the city and the people in general and we’d all like to promote.. “

Cllr Kate Feeney, who is a long term supporter of the S2S project, was elected Leas-Cathaoirleach and she also supported the project in her inauguration speech. Their statements are a welcome confirmation of the support that continues to exist across all of the main political parties for the S2S project. Backing at this level within the Council will be crucial in furthering the project in the next 12 months.

Cllr Tom Murphy and Cllr Kate Feeney with colleagues following their election in DLRCC.


We congratulate both Cllr Murphy and Cllr Feeney on their election and wish them well in their term of office.