Written answers

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Rail Network Expansion

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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548. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to extend the rail network into County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36266/16]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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​Under the current Capital Plan "Building on Recovery:  Infrastructure & Capital Investment 2016 - 2021", the priority for heavy rail infrastructure is to provide the necessary funding for maintenance and renewal programmes to bring the level of funding on the network up to the required 'steady state' condition.

In these circumstances, it is not currently proposed to extend the rail network, or to reopen closed rail lines on the network. As the Deputy will be aware, the National Transport Authority is currently running a public consultation on rail in Ireland. It was launched last week with the publication of the Rail Review 2016 - which the NTA undertook in conjunction with Iarnród Éireann - together with an NTA consultation document "The Role of Rail in Ireland and Funding its Delivery". Both documents are available on the NTA's website. This public consultation process will give the public and all interested parties the opportunity to give their views and contribute to the debate on the future of heavy rail in Ireland. The public consultation process will run until 18th January and the NTA will then prepare a report based on the findings; thereafter I intend to bring this report to Government. No decisions will be made about the heavy rail network before the public consultation process has concluded and been evaluated.


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