Dáil Éireann - Volume 578 - 28 January, 2004

Written Answers - Rail Network.

  145. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Transport the plans he has to progress the western rail corridor in view of the strategic rail review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2313/04]

  196. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Transport if he will approve funding for the western rail corridor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2292/04]

[987]   Mr. Brennan:I propose to take Questions Nos. 145 and 196 together.

At a seminar organised by my Department last September, the relevant regional authorities, in the Border, west, mid-west and south west, were made aware of the context in which the western rail corridor had been considered within the overall strategic rail review. The seminar provided the opportunity to discuss the western rail proposal with the regional authorities in the context of drawing up regional planning guidelines for their regions as part of the implementation of the national spatial strategy. The seminar has been followed by direct one-to-one discussions between consultants and each of the regional authorities and the Western Development Commission. Also, just before Christmas, I met with the West-on-Track group to hear its case for the western rail corridor.

The regional authorities, in the Border, west, mid-west and south west, are currently considering the potential for rail developments, such as the western rail corridor, in the drafting of their regional planning guidelines. This is being done as part of a policy of developing robust transport strategies that will be supported by land use and settlement strategies. I have asked Irish Rail to facilitate the regional authorities in their work, as they have in the case of the rail feasibility study for Cork. Moreover, I should point out that late last year my Department facilitated the work of the regional authorities by providing them with some consultancy support. Further work on the financial cost and potential of the project will be undertaken once the regional authorities have completed their regional planning guidelines.