Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Questions (2199)

Niall Collins


2199. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the plans of Irish Rail to reopen and upgrade the Limerick to Foynes railway line which has not been in use for a number of years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33440/18]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy may be aware and as noted in Government’s recently published Project Ireland 2040 and the 10-year National Development Plan, Shannon Foynes Port Company’s Infrastructure Development Programme is well underway and will consist of a jetty expansion program, the joining of the East and West Jetties and the infill behind, land purchase and site development at Foynes in light of the land bank shortage at Foynes Port and the Foynes Rail Reinstatement.  Phase 1 of part of this development has been completed and a planning application, under the strategic infrastructure process, for the next phases was lodged in April 2018 with An Bord Pleanála and is currently underway. The €27million investment programme will improve international connectivity and increase capacity through the construction of new quay walls and associated port infrastructure and external connectivity with the upgrade of the N69 and the reinstatement of the Limerick-Foynes rail line to follow.

In relation to progress underway in relation to Limerick to Foynes railway, scoping and feasibility studies on the reopening of the line, co-funded by Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) and the EU were completed in 2014-2016.  SFPC has since also commissioned Irish Rail to undertake a detailed design of the line, which is expected to be completed later this year. I understand that completion of this work can then inform future decisions regarding the reinstatement of this rail line in terms of hinterland connectivity necessary to accommodate the future expansion of the port and add efficiency to the national supply chain. It is noted that a key requirement for a core port under the Trans European Network (Ten-t) Regulations is that rail connection will be in place by 2030.