New Zealander Is Named Project Director of MetroLink After Global Hiring Search

World-recognised expert in large infrastructural projects hired to deliver major public transport programme

MetroLink has reached another significant milestone with the hiring of a Project Director following a global search for the most suitable candidate to head up the largest ever public transport investment project in the history of the State.

New Zealander Sean Sweeney will take up the position to bring the public transport ‘megaproject’ to Dublin after a proven track record of success over three decades in leadership roles on major infrastructure projects in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Sweeney is an expert in the procurement and delivery of large capital works and tunnelling. More recently, he was the Chief Executive Officer of City Rail Link a transformative underground rail link in Auckland’s city centre, and New Zealand’s largest-ever transport infrastructure project.

Other notable positions held by Mr Sweeney include Executive Director for Major Projects Victoria in Australia, where he managed a multibillion-dollar portfolio of projects and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), and chaired the Victorian Government Project Management Leadership Forum.

He later served as Chief Executive Officer for Justice Infrastructure in New South Wales, delivering a $2.4bn programme and establishing the project delivery unit from scratch. He holds a PhD in Construction Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.

It was recognised ahead of the recruitment process that there would only be a small group of professionals across the globe with the expertise to deliver MetroLink. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Major Projects Advisory Group (MPAG) noted: “There will be a limited number of individuals internationally who fulfil the relevant criteria [for the Project Director role].”

Given the specific expertise and experience required for this transformational project, the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform sanctioned a base salary of €550,000 for the role. This is below the mean equivalent rate for this level of expertise globally

Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, said:

“Recruiting a world-recognised Project Director with a track record of getting massive infrastructural projects over the line is another important step in ensuring that this time MetroLink will be delivered. We now have one of the best people in the world on our team to get the job done.

“This transformational project is currently before planning. Once we get through the planning process, I am keen for us to go full tilt to get construction under way so that we meet our milestones and deliver a world-class metro system as quickly as possible.

“This important recruitment is not just about getting this project over the line in the next decade, it’s about ensuring that we have a transport system that is fit for purpose for decades to come.”

NTA Chief Executive Officer, Anne Graham, said:

“MetroLink is about providing a frequent, reliable, sustainable alternative as part of an integrated public transport system, by making Swords, the northern suburbs and Dublin Airport more accessible to the city.

“Today’s appointment represents a significant step in this crucial project and is a clear indication that progress is being made.”

Transport Infrastructure Ireland CEO, Peter Walsh, said:

“I am very pleased to welcome the appointment of Sean Sweeney to the position of Project Director for the MetroLink project. The appointment followed an extensive national and international recruitment competition, carried out on behalf of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) by Newsom Consulting.

“In addition to his professional accomplishments, Sean is known for his collaborative and engaging leadership style. He is also a recognised expert in the procurement and delivery of large capital projects.

“As our new MetroLink Project Director, Sean will be responsible for leading the development and delivery of this programme, which aims to provide a new high-frequency, environmentally friendly public transport service

“Through its connectivity with mainline rail, DART, Luas and BusConnects, MetroLink will transform public transportation in Ireland, addressing critical issues such as congestion, accessibility and sustainable growth.”

Of his appointment, Sean Sweeney said:

“My late father was born and raised in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. He would be thrilled and immensely proud, as I am, to know his son was going back to lead this major project for Dublin. MetroLink is a once-in-a-generation project that will transform the public transport system in the capital city and I am delighted and honoured to have been selected to spearhead its delivery.”

25.06.2024 Metrolink Project Director Announcement