Written Answers. - Rail Network.

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

90 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Transport the impact the spatial strategy will have on the strategic rail review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2644/03]

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

128 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Transport if he has received the report of the strategic study on the Irish rail system, which he told Dáil Éireann on 26 November 2002 was expected by the end of the year; if it is intended to publish the results of the study; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2736/03]

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

149 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Transport the recommendations of the strategic study on the Irish rail system in regard to the greater Dublin area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2737/03]

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

154 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport his proposals for the development of the railway system; and his views on its future ownership and financing. [2767/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90, 128, 149 and 154 together.

I have already replied to a priority question on this topic. Once the Government has had an opportunity to consider the findings and recommendations of the strategic rail review I propose publishing the document. Due to the recognition that transport policy cannot proceed in isolation from spatial strategy generally, there was explicit reference in the terms of reference for the strategic rail review that the framework for future rail development in the review had to take account of the national spatial strategy. Accordingly, the conclusions of the national spatial strategy have an important bearing on the strategic rail study.

Among other things, the strategic rail review will bring forward specific options in relation to the financing of the rail recommendations contained in it but the issue of rail ownership was not part of the brief for the review and I certainly have no proposals in that regard. In advance of the Government considering the strategic rail review, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the other specific issues raised by Deputies.