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Press Release

Immediate - 27 April 2001

Sub-Committee on Mini-CTC Signalling Project visit Knockcroghery Junction

The sub-Committee inquiring into the background to the cost overruns and delay in completion of Iarnród Éireann’s new electronic signal system, today visited the prototype for the system at Knockcroghery County Roscommon.

The system, now significantly over budget and still not fully installed, was intended to improve railway efficiency, achieve cost reductions and enhance rail safety. In addition, the system would have had the added benefit, through modern technology, to expand the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure.

Budgeted at £15m, with most of the money coming from the European taxpayer, the new signal system has still to be completed and is also significantly over budget. Estimates of the cost over run range as high as £25m.

One of the main purposes of this inquiry is to establish the facts behind the cost over run and the delay in completion.

Speaking at Knockcroghery this morning, the Chairman of the sub-Committee, Mr. Seán Doherty T.D. said

"the decision to go ahead with building the new electronic signal system was also the occasion for entering into a joint venture partnership between CIE and ESAT. As a result of this joint venture, the signal system would be installed alongside a new ESAT national phone network. Both networks were to have been installed simultaneously by the same contractor. It would appear that this plan of campaign did not come to fruition. The signal network has still to be completed and some estimates suggest the final cost may be £40m."

During the Knockcroghery inspection, the sub-Committee was accompanied by members of its investigation team. That team is led by accountants Chapman Flood Mazar and includes the international rail consultant Dr. John Hill.

The members of the sub-Committee are Seán Doherty T.D., Chairman, Pat Rabbitte T.D., Austin Curry T.D., Martin Brady T.D., Jim Higgins T.D. and Noel O’Flynn T.D..

ENDS

Further Information:

Seán Doherty T.D.   + 353 (0) 1 618 3000

Verona Ní Bhroinn, Public Relations Officer: + 353 (0) 1 618 3066 info@oireachtas.ie


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