The Government's programme for the funding of capital projects to 2016 is set out in the "Medium Term Exchequer Framework 2012-16”. Due to the overall reduction in funding for transport infrastructure the priority to 2016 is to protect investment made to date and to maintain safety standards. The limited funding available over and above this priority will only be provided for projects which are affordable, meet overall transport objectives and deliver the best return in terms of economic recovery and job creation. Moreover the ability to operate profitably and without the need of any subsidy would also be a key consideration for any new rail projects or extensions. Furthermore, the AECOM/Goodbody “2030 Rail Network Strategy Review” carried out for Iarnród Éireann examined the potential for new and re-opened lines and it did not recommend the development of a rail link between Sligo and Derry or between Donegal and Derry. Likewise its predecessor, the “Strategic Rail Review” in 2003 did not recommend such a rail link.
The development of a rail line between Sligo and Derry would require new rail lines to connect with the rail network in Northern Ireland. It should be noted that the Northern Ireland Executive has no proposals to provide such new rail lines. In the circumstances there are no plans to develop a new rail link between Sligo and Derry and consequently the question of EU co-funding does not arise in this instance. My Department will keep the potential use of Projects Bonds under consideration in the event that an appropriate project together with the required Exchequer contribution becomes available.
Question No. 897 answered with Question No. 883.