Deputy Martin Browne
Tipperary rail is an untapped resource and ignoring this is to ignore the needs of the future according to Tipperary's Sinn Fein TD, Deputy Martin Browne.
In a statement to this week's Tipperary Star, Deputy Browne said: “I was disappointed to learn from Transport Infrastructure Ireland this week that when it comes to freight transport on our rail network, the potential is limited, and that the use of road transport is still the preferred option.
“The line Ballybrophy/Limerick for example, has huge strategic importance for the region. Its potential as a link between those regions is not being realised properly, and moves to enhance its attractiveness for commuters and businesses is too slow and unambitious.
“I raised the matter of increasing the use of our rail lines for freight transport with Transport Infrastructure Ireland recently but was disappointed to be told that due to the ‘relatively small land mass’ of Ireland and ‘the good road connectivity across most of the country’, the potential for rail freight in Ireland is limited.
“I believe that this represents a very narrow-minded attitude towards our rail network.
“Our road networks are not good, and with the consequences of Brexit yet to be fully felt, it is important that inter-regional routes and access to our ports and airports is invested in properly.
“This is why I believe that TII and Iarnród Éireann must pursue every avenue possible to make more use of our rail networks, whether that is for passenger or freight purposes.
“At a time in this world’s history in which the reduction of emissions is more important than ever, TII cannot in all good conscience dismiss anything when it comes to the use of our rail networks in enabling us to take cars and lorries off the roads, and emissions out of our lungs.
“I believe an approach to transport that takes into account both rail and roads is the only feasible way to deal with the traffic congestion and emissions.
“The potential of the Limerick/Ballybrophy line must be acknowledged, invested in an ultimately realised, for the benefit of the regions concerned and those living within them”, he added.