Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
1069. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the timeline for the release of the latest rail review report on the western rail corridor commissioned in 2019, in view of the fact the publication of the report is already delayed by more than six months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5445/20]
As the Deputy is aware, Project Ireland 2040committed to conducting an independent review toward evaluating a possible extension of the existing Western Rail Corridor northwards to Tuam (Phase 2) and/or Claremorris (Phase 3). Project Ireland 2040also states that if Government accepts a proposal to extend the route then that extension will be prioritised over the lifetime of the National Development Plan.
In line with this commitment, Iarnród Éireann commissioned a financial and economic appraisal of the proposal and, in late 2019, submitted a copy of that appraisal to my Department. As was signalled publicly at the time of the commissioning of the appraisal, and, as is required under the Public Spending Code (PSC), my Department is reviewing the documentation that has been received and is engaging with Iarnród Éireann and the consultants as required during this review.
Once that review is complete, the matter will then be brought to Government for its decision.
I hope the Deputy can see from the above that there has been no substantive delay to this process as first outlined in Project Ireland 2040 and as is required under the Public Spending Code. While there have been some unanticipated external factors in recent months, such as the dissolution of the 32nd Dáil in January and the outbreak of the COVID-19 Emergency, I can assure the Deputy that work is ongoing in order to finalise the review and bring the matter to Government.