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Written Answers - Rail Network

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 686.  Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis  asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  his plans to develop rail links as part of the western arc from Cork to Belfast; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16971/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I have no plans at this time to develop a so-called “Western Arc” from Cork to Belfast as this would require both the re-opening of the remaining phases of the Western Rail Corridor and also the development of new rail lines to connect with the rail network in Northern Ireland. The programme for the funding of capital projects to 2016 is set out in the Medium Term Exchequer Framework 2012-16. It should be noted that the Northern Ireland Executive has no proposals to provide new railways envisaged in such an Arc.

[985]Due to the overall reduction in funding for transport infrastructure the priority to 2016 is to protect investment made to date and to maintain safety standards. I would draw the Deputy’s attention to the Programme for Government and in particular the commitment that: “We will insist that major capital projects are subjected to proper cost-benefit analysis and evaluation, improving future productivity and growth prospects, and that the value-for-money obtained is significantly enhanced compared to the most recent period.”

In this regard, I would note that the economic and financial evaluations of Phase 1 of the Western Railway Corridor were negative. Furthermore, the AECOM/Goodbody 2030 Rail Network Strategy Review carried out for Iarnród Éireann examined the potential for new and re-opened lines, including those along the “Western Arc”. The Review did not recommend further consideration of any such lines, apart from Phase 2 of the Western Rail Corridor.

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