CRL’s Dr Sweeney resigns to lead the MetroLink project in Dublin, Ireland 

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CRL,

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Dr Sweeney has resigned today from the City Rail Link (CRL) project to lead the MetroLink project in Ireland’s capital, Dublin.  MetroLink’s construction costs are around four times greater than CRL’s and it is six times longer.  

“I have been more than honoured to lead CRL and with our finish line approaching rapidly it was no easy decision to leave a project that will always remain special to me,” Dr Sweeney says.  “It will not only do so much for Auckland and Aucklanders, but CRL demonstrates the very best in outstanding teamwork, innovation and design – everyone of us who have worked on CRL can rightly feel proud and privileged to have done so.”    

City Rail Link Ltd’s Chairman, John Bridgman, says Dr Sweeney’s resignation is accepted with regret.

“I congratulate Sean on his new appointment – it is a great opportunity on the world stage for a New Zealander with his outstanding engineering and leadership skills.”

“Be assured, however, that his resignation will not trigger any slowdown in the project’s momentum.  One of Sean’s legacies is the strong leadership team he has established. Construction is more than 80 per cent complete, there is a good atmosphere across all our sites and CRL’s testing and commissioning phase is gathering pace. The project is in great shape and we remain on track to complete the project and hand it over to Auckland Transport and KiwiRail at the end of next year,” says Mr Bridgman. 

Dr Sweeney studied engineering at Wellington Polytechnic and Auckland University and later gained a Doctorate in Construction Economics from Melbourne University.  He worked in the infrastructure industry overseas before returning to New Zealand in 2018 to lead City Rail Link Ltd, the Crown Entity established by the New Zealand Government and Auckland Council to deliver CRL. 

During the past six years, Dr Sweeney successfully steered the project through the collapse of one of the project’s major suppliers, established the Link Alliance – CRL’s main delivery partner – two cost reviews and the covid pandemics and their impacts on work programmes, staff and supply chains.

On managing the project through these event Dr Sweeney says: “There have certainly been a lot of big issues to deal with alongside the complexity and challenges of building New Zealand’s first underground railway in the middle of our largest city. I’m really proud of the way the team has managed through these,” he says.

MetroLink will be built between central Dublin and the city’s airport and connect with existing road and rail public transport. 

With a $20bn budget, it is almost 19 kilometres long, most of it underground and includes 16 new stations. 

Dr Sweeney’s appointment is not only a professional one.

His mother, born in the English city of Liverpool, has Irish heritage and his father comes from County Mayo in Ireland’s west.

“There’s a strong personal element involved and the chance for an Irish/Kiwi like me to reconnect with family in Ireland,” Dr Sweeney says.

Dr Sweeney will leave CRL in September.  

John Bridgman says the search for a new Chief Executive is underway.

 “We know that there is a high calibre of talent both internally and externally who will be able to continue the great work on this project and take it to completion. The CRL Board has already started identifying suitable candidates and in the meantime, momentum on the project remains unchanged,” Mr Bridgman says.

Source and Photo: City Rail Link Media Release

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