The line, which was given the green light by An Bord Pleanála, means the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) can start initial work on the project which could create up to 4,000 construction jobs.

The decision, which can be viewed here, came following an extensive oral hearing as part of the planning process this week.

Praising the decision Green Party minister of state for sustainable transport, Ciarán Cuffe, said: “The decision is an important step forward for Dublin.

“Together with Dart Underground, Metro North will be a vital backbone to an integrated public transport system for Dublin encompassing commuter rail, light rail and bus.

“One of the aims of the Government’s transport policy is to reduce the number of car-based work commuting trips.

“With annual passenger journeys projected at more than 30 million, Metro North will play its part in this.”

This order means RPA can move to the final stage of the PPP procurement process, which should be completed by the end of 2011.

Initial works, involving diversion of utilities in the city centre and heritage works, are due to get underway in March 2011.

Luke Walsh

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