Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (118)

John McGuinness

Question:

118. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Transport his plans to upgrade existing railway track to new bigger sleepers and rails to assist the speed and safety of trains; if the relaying process is put out to tender or carried out by Iarnród Éireann staff; the funding spent on this work over the past ten years; the planned funding for the next five years; if all machinery contracted to carry out this work in the past represented value for money; if the machinery contracted in was used every day on site; if the machinery used for this type of work is fully owned by Iarnród Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6501/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy may be aware, the provision of funding for the protection and renewal of our railway infrastructure is governed by EU and Irish legislation. This legislative framework requires a contractual agreement, known as the Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract (IMMAC), to be entered into between the Minister and Iarnród Éireann, in its designated role as Infrastructure Manager of the network. The legislative framework also designates the Commission for Rail Regulation as the independent monitoring body to monitor the performance of Iarnród Éireann in regard to its obligations under the IMMAC.

A detailed review of IMMAC 2014 to 2018 was published in December 2019 as part of the finalisation of the new IMMAC 2020 to 2024 contractual agreement. The review is available to view on my Department’s website: https://assets.gov.ie/41983/0dacd748329049bba8ce37b4f97d755a.pdf and provides detail in relation to all expenditure and outputs over the relevant period, including in relation to track and associated works. The published review also contains details in relation to the proposed expenditure planned over the period 2020 to 2024 and a high-level summary of work, which, as noted in the review, is elaborated upon in an annual programme of work developed by Iarnród Éireann.

In addition to the IMMAC programme, I would note that last year’s July Stimulus provided €18m toward track improvement works and that was further supported by an additional allocation of €25m in Budget 2021, these additional allocations were largely directed toward works on the Dublin – Cork line.

In view of Iarnród Éireann's responsibility regarding the specific issues raised, I have referred the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.