Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (572)

Niamh Smyth


572. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will instruct Iarnród Éireann to desist from lifting the old railway tracks in the Nobber and Castletown areas of County Meath (details supplied) due to the ongoing review of the re-establishing of the railway line to Kingscourt, County Cavan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37174/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding of public transport.  The operation of the rail network, including former lines on the network, is an operational  matter for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance.

I have previously informed the Deputy that the priority funding objective in relation to mainline rail is the maintenance and renewal of the existing operating network. That objective is supported by the significantly enhanced funding now available to support that network as evidenced by the approximate 23% increase in Exchequer funding provided in 2019. 

The Deputy is also aware from previous answers I have given on this issue that there is no funding provided within Project Ireland 2040 for the re-opening of the Kingscourt line nor is there any review underway in that regard.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) does propose to commence a review of the statutory Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area toward the end of next year. That review will consider issues which have arisen since finalisation of the Strategy in 2016, including the potential extension of the existing M3/Parkway Line northwards to Navan.  The review will provide an opportunity to reconsider the population and commuting forecasts in order to determine whether any revised Strategy might include such an extension to Navan.

In light of the Iarnród Éireann's responsibilities on this matter, I have referred the Deputy's specific question in relation to activity on this disused line to the company for a more detailed reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A