Friday, 27 April 2007

TD says minister must publish spur rail link feasibility study

THE Minister for Transport has been called on to publicise a feasibility study carried out on a spur rail link connecting Shannon to the Limerick-Ennis line.

Labour education spokeswoman Jan O’Sullivan, TD said the report has been lying on the minister’s desk.

Ms O’Sullivan said: “The Minister for Transport told me in a parliamentary reply on February 20 that the draft final report was completed at that stage and that the final report would be available shortly. It’s now more than two months later and there’s no sign of it. It should be published without further delay.”

She said there is no commitment to funding the line in the Government’s proposals under Transport 21.

Ms O’Sullivan said it was vital for Shannon’s future that it is easy to get to by public transport and rail is the best option.

She said: “The Limerick-Ennis line has already proved to be a great success. I have no doubt that a link to Shannon be equally successful for visitors and locals alike.”

Deputy O’Sullivan also accused Minister Martin Cullen of reneging on his promise to implement an Economic and Tourism Development Plan to prepare the region for the consequences of Open Skies which will end Shannon’s right to an equal number of transatlantic flights with Dublin.

She said: “There is a real threat to jobs and prosperity in the Mid-West. We will lose business to Dublin if nothing is done to market and support Shannon. Open Skies is upon us and the Government is still sitting on its hands.”

Ms O’Sullivan expressed great disappointment at the minister’s response to the debate. She said: “He was flippant and dismissive and gave no date for the publication of either the rail study or the plan. Mr Cullen is coming to the Mid-West this weekend and I’m calling on him to give us positive news on these issues.”

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has publicly come out against a rail spur into Shannon saying it is not necessary. He told a meeting in Limerick recently that the roads into Shannon were good.

Irish Examiner

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