19 February 2018
By Bryan Smyth
The Green Party has welcomed the announcement of a feasibility study into a light-rail system for Cork as part of the National Development Plan 2018-2027.
The plan includes a commitment to evaluate the potential for a bus rapid transit or light-rail system in the city. The plan envisions an east-west corridor from Mahon through the city centre to Ballincollig and a north-south corridor with a link to the airport.
The Green Party were the first party to seriously call for a Cork Luas. A feasibility study into a Luas-style light rail system in Cork was part of the party’s 2007 Programme for Government but had to be shelved due to the economic crisis.
Susan Lanigan, the party’s representative in Cobh, pointed to the success of the branch lines to Cobh and Midleton. Ms Lanigan said an integrated rapid transit system would revolutionise travel around the city and surrounding towns:
“A light rail system that integrates with Kent Station has the potential to open up the whole area of transport from the East Cork, not only for commuters but for tourism too. Imagine a network from the airport to Cobh and Midleton or around the Marina in the city and on to the Blackrock-Mahon Greenway or UCC-CUH-CIT and Ballincollig.”
“The design of Cork makes it very difficult to get to the periphery. Instead of walking into town from the train station, wouldn’t it be better to just hop on a light rail from Kent just as you do on the Luas when arriving into Heuston? It’s important that a Cork Luas is planned with a long-term vision of what the city will ultimately look like and how it will be used, especially the docklands redevelopment.”
The 2018-2017 plan also includes a commitment to examine opportunities for high-speed rail links between Belfast, Dublin and Cork.