24 May 2019
By Mary Bermingham
The Green Party has called for a more ambitious timeline for delivery of a light rail system in Cork in light of the declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency by Dáil Éireann.
Plans contained in the Cork Metropolitan Area Draft Transport Strategy 2040 include a 17km light rail network with 25 stops from Ballincollig to Mahon Point costing €1bn. The report also envisions new commuter train stations, including Blackpool, Tivoli, Carrigtowhill West and Water Rock.
Lorna Bogue, the party’s candidate in the Cork City South East ward, said:
“A light rail system in Cork is something that the Green Party has been demanding since 2006. When the Luas was introduced in Dublin, we were assured that Cork would soon follow suit. It’s 2019 and do not have a light rail system. What we have is a report, over a year late, and we are being told that we will get a light rail system ‘by 2040’. The Dáil has declared a climate and biodiversity emergency. The UN is saying transformative responses are needed to how our cities and transport infrastructure are run. We should be aiming to have a light rail system in place by 2025.”
“The timing of the release of this report smells like electioneering too. I think after the event centre sod turning debacle, we should all be more attune to how committed this Government actually is to delivering projects like this for Cork.”
Ms Bogue also raised questions about the ownership of planned service:
“We also need to discuss ownership of the project. If this is to go down the public-private partnership route, like the current broadband farce, then the public could end up paying for the infrastructure but not reaping the benefits. The Luas paid for itself after a few years of operation. We need to ensure that profits come back into the city and are ringfenced for other transport projects and maintenance.”