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Taoiseach says new metropolitan rail network for Cork can be completed 'quickly'

The Minister for Environment announced today that €184 million will fund this new investment in a metropolitan rail network between Cork towns.

A passenger train at Cobh, Co. Cork.
A passenger train at Cobh, Co. Cork.
Image: Shutterstock/John And Penny

Updated Jun 1st 2021, 6:52 PM

THE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED today new plans for a metropolitan rail network for Cork.

At the announcement of the new Economic Recovery Plan, Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, said the government is signalling a “major investment in metropolitan rail network for Cork” in what he called a “transformation of the city.”

The plan will start today, with a fund of €184 million, and the new commuter line is planned to run through Cobh, Midleton and Mallow.

Ryan also said there are plans to improve Kent Station and, in time, new stations will be built in Tivoli, Blarney, Kilbarry and other locations.

There are 30,000 houses zoned beside, along and near those stations according to the Minister.

“It’s a signal to the developers on the councils in Cork, we build around substations we build sustainably, we do transport-led development,” he said.

Speaking this evening on RTÉ’s Six One News, Taoiseach Michéal Martin said that he couldn’t out a definite timeline on the completed project but that it would happen “quickly”.

“That allocation will have to be in the next two years, what’s happening here is the electrification of the route from Midleton to Mallow, a new line also. It’s an interesting project and Eamon Ryan to be fair has been committed to this because it also ties into the new model of development in cities where we want public transport close to new public housing schemes,” the Taoiseach said. 

I don’t have a timeline in terms of the actual completion but it’s part of the Cork metropolitan rail network which was announced some time ago that county councils are involved in it but this is something that can happen quickly because it’s both the electrification of the line, it’s creating a new line, a double line and also configuring Kent station and creating new stations along the line to Mallow.

Ryan said that the European Commission has signed off on the plan and that Ireland’s Recovery and Resilience Plan is in tune with the Green Transition that Europe sees as the heart of the recovery.

The funding of these new rail links will look to allow future electrification of the service.

Ryan also said that a plan like this will be done in Limerick, Galway and Waterford as well.

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Ireland is using part of its €915 million in grants from the EU’s massive stimulus plan for Europe to fund the new rail works.

A total of €503 million is to be spent on advancing Green Transition projects in Ireland; as well as the Cork rail works, money will be going on providing supports of small and medium businesses and exporters to address their emissions, the advanced rehabilitation of 33,000 hectares of former industrial peatland, and upgrading a minimum of 10 water treatment plants.

“In investing in our economic recovery we are simultaneously investing in the renewal of our economy, progressing to a decarbonised, more digitalised future with opportunities for all our people across sectors and regions,” said Ryan.

Ireland plans to halve its carbon emission over the next decade, as part of its transition to a greener economy. Under the EU Green Deal, Ireland is aiming to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy

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