9 March 2017
By Tom Collins
The Green Party in Cork has said that now is the time to look again at plans for a light rail in Cork. The call follows an article on the Journal.ie at the weekend that looked back at the Green Party’s proposals for light rail in Cork.
The Green Party proposals were for a light rail from Mahon and Blackrock to the city centre and from there to Ballincollig with a spur to Bishopstown. The route would have run on-street and along disused rail lines and remains Green Party policy.
Speaking about the plan, Green Party representative in Cork North Central, Oliver Moran said:
“The metropolitan area of Cork is 400,000 people. We need to start thinking of ourselves as a large city and planning for that. With developments planed for the docklands, now it the time again to look at a light rail or rapid bus transit.”
The idea has been supported by IDA regional manager for the south-west, Ray O’Connor. Mr O’Connor told attendees at a business breakfast in the Cork College of Commerce that a light rail in Cork could be a game changer for investment in the city.
Dr Gordon Reid, the Green Party’s representative in Bandon-Kinsale, suggested a new feasibility study should be conducted, including extending the plan to Carrigaline:
“In the submission we made to the Carrigaline-Ballincollig local area plan, we proposed that the feasibility study into a light rail in Cork be revisited with wider scope. With Carrigaline still among the top towns in Ireland in terms of the proportion of people who commute by car to work, I think we should be pushing for a light rail link to be considered. Part of the route could use the old Cork, Blackrock and Passage railway line to avoid the steep gradient over Carr’s Hill, thus linking to the Blackrock-Mahon line.”
The idea received support from Fine Gael minister, Simon Coveney, ahead of the launch of a consultation on the National Planning Framework. However, the Green Party’s representative in Cork South Central, Lorna Bogue, has criticised an apparent lack of commitment from the Government to move past aspiration and drive the initiative forward:
“It’s about time that Cork had better transport options. Particularly out to the suburbs as this will give Cork’s city centre the kickstart it needs to be an economic driver in the southern region. We have politicians in Cork South Central who are spending more time posturing about the leadership of this country than taking leadership for Cork. It’s easy to talk the talk about not being so Dublin-centric, now is the time to see how they can walk the walk.”
A Twitter poll following the Journal.ie article, run by the Cork Greens, found that 89% of respondents thought trams or a light rail in Cork would be a good idea.
The Cork Greens will be hosting an open workshop on Cork in 2040 in the Roundy on Castle Street at 19:30 on Monday, 13 March. Party leader, Eamon Ryan, will attend and address the workshop.