Irish Rail faces uncertainty as no extra funds allocated in budget

Rail Transport: service levels considered unsustainable based on current revenues

Today’s budget gave no hint of an increased subvention for Iarnród Éireann or its parent company CIÉ. Photograph:

Today’s budget gave no hint of an increased subvention for Iarnród Éireann or its parent company CIÉ. Photograph:

 

CIÉ will seek to establish over coming days whether the transport provision in the budget will allow Iarnród Éireann to maintain services or require it to cut services.

The rail company has previously said its services are “unsustainable” given the current level of funding. The company is in discussions with the National Transport Authority (NTA) on the appropriate level of services for its Budget.

Having dropped proposed pay cuts for staff the company now needs to find savings elsewhere - or receive extra funding.

In April former minister Leo Varadkar said he had no more money for the rail network “a real concern that there is a perception in some quarters that ultimately the Government will protect and fund existing rail services at any cost”.

“That may be the romantic answer, but it is not realistic”, he said.

Iarnród Éireann said last week it was “in discussions with the NTA on a sustainable level of service given the company’s revenue.

A spokesman acknowledged the current service level was not sustainable at current revenue levels.

Today’s budget gave no hint of an increased subvention for Iarnród Éireann or its parent company CIÉ.

In comment on the budget provision Minister for Transport Pascal Donohoe said the public service obligation supports to CIÉ would be maintained at current levels.

Mr Donohoe said investment in the road network of €598 million had been allocated for the maintenance and improvement of national, regional and local roads, broadly unchanged compared to last year.

This year’s allocation will allow for projects such as the N7 / N11 Arklow to Rathnew and Newlands Cross PPP project to be completed; works on the N17/18 from Gort to Tuam to be commenced and new projects such as the provision of a new city centre footbridge in Limerick city to be initiated.

In terms of sustainable transport the minister said there would be Improvements to bus stops and shelters.

There would be an expansion of real time passenger information and journey planner services as well as traffic management and cycling and walking measures in the regional cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. Further development of the Leap card will also take place.”