The TEN-T Core Network is a subset of the Comprehensive Network and represents the strategically most important nodes and links of the trans-European transport networks.
The Core TEN-T network on the Island of Ireland links the main urban centres of Belfast-Dublin and Cork and encompasses the road, rail and other transport modes on this route. There is also an offshoot to the Core Port of Shannon Foynes. The Dublin - Rosslare Europort rail line links to Rosslare Harbour, a Harbour which is on the TEN-T Comprehensive Network but which doesn’t meet the threshold for TEN-T Core port status. I have not applied to the European Commission to designate the Dublin to Rosslare railway line as part of the Core Network.
EU Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc, wrote to Transport Ministers in February 2019 announcing that the Commission is considering advancing the review of the TEN-T Network, which was due to take place no later than December 2023. My Department is giving due consideration to this announcement and will very shortly make a formal submission to the Commission requesting an early review of the TEN-T Network, as outlined in the Programme for a Partnership Government. This submission will note that national developments since the TEN-T network was established should be taken into account during the review, including the National Development Plan, the National Planning Framework, and the implications of Brexit.
Separately, the Deputy will be aware that Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) co-funding is available to projects on both the comprehensive and the core parts of the TEN-T Network, subject to such projects satisfying the eligibility criteria of a given call for proposals, and being selected in the evaluation process.
The current CEF programme finishes at end 2020. A proposal for a new Regulation of the Connecting Europe Facility for the period 2021 –2027 was published by the European Commission in May 2018. Ireland has advocated at EU level for projects on our comprehensive network to continue to be eligible for co-funding during the period 2021 - 2027.
Ireland submitted written comments to the European Commission in conjunction with two other island Member States, Cyprus and Malta, calling for projects on the comprehensive network in Member States which have no land border with another Member State to be included as eligible actions. This position was accepted by the Commission during negotiations, and as a result the latest text of the proposal retains this amendment. Subject to the proposed Regulation being adopted, this means that during the period 2021 – 2027, projects on Ireland’s comprehensive TEN-T network, includingthe rail network, will be eligible to apply for CEF co-funding through relevant Calls for Proposals.