I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 and 182 together.
I believe that rail can play a greater role in the movement of goods on the island of Ireland.
The Strategic Rail Review will consider the potential for rail freight along with an examination on how to improve sustainable connectivity between the major cities, enhance regional accessibility, support balanced regional development and improve rail connectivity to our international gateways.
The Review will consider the potential scope for improved rail services and infrastructure along the various existing, or future potential, corridors of the network including disused and closed lines.
Included in the Review will be an extensive examination of relevant policy and strategy documentation affecting rail in Ireland, including of course Iarnród Éireann’s recently published Rail Freight 2040 Strategy, including its proposed development of freight terminals over the next 10 – 15 years. I see both pieces of work being very much complementary with the commercial perspective of Iarnród Éireann’s analysis to be supported by the broader strategic perspective of the Review taking into account the potential of all-island freight movements also.
The Review will be one of the most significant reviews of the rail network on the island in many years and will provide a framework to develop a much-improved rail network in the years ahead.
The Review's public consultation is open until 21st January 2022 and I would encourage all interested parties to participate.