Dáil Éireann - Volume 475 - 05 March, 1997

Written Answers. - Light Rail Project.

258. Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications the current status of the Dublin Light Rail proposals in relation to the Sandyford and Tallaght alignments; the availability of EU funding for the proposals; his views on whether the long delay in advancing the proposals could jeopardise European funding; the date for a public inquiry; whether an extension to Sandyford Industrial Estate will be included in phase one; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6265/97]

Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications (Mr. Dukes): At this stage I am awaiting a formal application from CIE for a light railway order for the Tallaght-Dundrum line in accordance with the provisions of the Transport (Dublin Light Rail) Act, 1996. I indicated to the House last December that the statutory public inquiry into CIE's application would probably be held in the first half of 1997. This was in the expectation that an application would be received in February. At this stage the earliest a public inquiry is likely to take place is summer 1997. There is a commitment in the Operational Programme for Transport 1994-99 to provide EU funding for light rail and substantial EU funds have in fact already been paid to CIE. It has been agreed with the European Commission that the first phase of the light rail network will comprise the proposed Tallaght-Dundrum line. This project is still on schedule for completion in the year 2000 and EU funding is not in jeopardy. I am committed to the completion of the three line network including extensions to Sandyford and Ballymun.