Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (104, 105)

Johnny Mythen

Ceist:

104. Deputy Johnny Mythen asked the Minister for Transport if the NTA committee will be reviewed; if qualified railway and freight experts will be included on the panel; the name of personnel who are qualified in rail expertise already on the board (details supplied) [29449/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Johnny Mythen

Ceist:

105. Deputy Johnny Mythen asked the Minister for Transport if freight charges will be reviewed in view of the fact charges here are the highest in Europe and are a disincentive to companies to use Irish Rail as a form of transport. [29450/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 104 and 105 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, I have a strong interest in this area and I see potential for the development of rail freight in Ireland.

While the National Transport Authority (NTA) does not have a direct role in the development of rail freight, it does have responsibility for the development of an integrated, accessible public transport network and the provision of public transport infrastructure, including rail. I will have regard to the need for expertise in this area when filling future vacancies on the Board of the NTA.

I recently met with the Chairman and Chief Executive of Irish Rail and we discussed a number of issues, including the company's plans for the development of rail freight.

Irish Rail is preparing a Rail Freight Strategy with the support of outside consultants to guide actions to 2040. The company hopes to have this report complete in the coming months and I have asked that the company also submit the report to me.

The issue of access charges to the rail network for freight is a matter in the first instance for the company and, I would expect, will be reviewed in the Rail Freight Strategy.