14 January 2019
By Elaine Murphy
The Green Party in Cork has described the decision by Cork County Council to tarmac over the Youghal-Midleton railway as a “serious blow to the region”.
Cork County Councillors today voted unanimously in favour of a greenway proposal for Youghal – Midleton. The plan involves using the disused overgrown railway corridor between the two towns as the route for the greenway. Over 300 submissions were received from the public on the plans.
There was a consensus at the Council meeting that using the former track in some capacity is better than leaving it in its current disused state. However, there was disagreement in quarters over what this future use should be. A greenway (walkway) was ultimately rubberstamped but many wanted a modern rail track and service – something that would be extremely expensive and would require the involvement of Irish Rail and others. Many people living in East Cork commute daily by car to Cork City Centre, and the meeting heard about the success of the Midleton to Cork railway line reopening.
Liam Quaide, the Green Party candidate for the Midleton Local Electoral Area, described the decision to progress with a greenway (walkway) as a serious blow to the regional development of East Cork:
“As the region is increasingly in the grip of traffic congestion it is extremely short-sighted to put an essential piece of our infrastructure for dealing with that problem out of use indefinitely. Commuting has become a daily ordeal for locals. This is only going to get worse with projected population growth in Cork city and county of 300,000 over the next three decades.”
“We should be planning a modern public transport system for the entire region that links up Youghal with a light rail network in the city. This would bring us into line with the kind of services enjoyed by our European neighbours and Scandanavian counterparts. This would also reduce traffic pollution which is a major health hazard, and would help us meet our EU carbon emission targets. East Cork should benefit from a greenway but not at the expense of an essential public service.”
“It is not credible that this railway corridor can be tarmacked over now and somehow reconverted back for rail use at a later stage. There is no precedent for this in Ireland or the UK. In any case, the railway link is needed now, not sometime in the future.”