The Minister for Public Enterprise, Mary O'Rourke, has awarded the contract for the main construction elements of Dublin's LUAS - worth £196 million - to Italy's Ansaldo and Australia's MVM. Their principal sub-contractor is Ballast Nedam of Holland.

The Minister also said today that LUAS services were still on schedule to commence in 2003.

Work on the main lines from Tallaght to Connolly Station and from Sandyford to St Stephen's Green will involve track laying and mechanical and engineering installations, as well as the construction of a depot at Sandyford and a bridge across Taney Road in Dundrum.

Work will begin on the project in the next few weeks.