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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Light rail for Leeside dismissed: ‘Better chance of seeing Elvis in Cork than a Luas’

THE National Bus and Rail Union’s (NBRU) general secretary has said Cork is more likely to see Elvis perform than get a light rail system.

Speaking at the NBRU’s biennial conference in Cork, Dermot O’Leary addressed his home city as a proud Cork native. 

“I will say this to the citizens of our beautiful city, do not be fooled by the glitz and glamour — a Luas for Cork sounds fine and dandy, but realism has to play a part in any debate,” he warned.

“The promise of fancy light rail systems will ring loud and clear, both pre and during a general election campaign.”

But he stressed to his audience the need for honesty among politicians and policymakers.

“The prospect of a light rail system appearing in Cork any time over the next 50-plus years has as much of a chance of happening as does Elvis reappearing at a venue near you.”

He also defended the city’s reliance on buses as a mode of public transport, saying they were the future of land transport for Cork.

However, he wasn’t opposed to a heavy rail system.

“The prospect of rail stations at Blackpool, Monard, Blarney, Dunkettle, Carrigtwohill, Water Rock are possible, the rail footprint already exists.”

Mr O’Leary went on to say that the NBRU will lobby politicians to look into a bus rapid transit system for Cork to connect East to West, from Ballincollig to Mahon.

“Its cost is far less than that of a highfalutin tram system, and it can be delivered in a relatively short timeframe.”

Mr O’Leary noted some improvements in Cork’s transport infrastructure.

“I will finish on the Cork plan by saying that the influx of buses through Bus Éireann’s services have seen a major improvement in how people commute across Cork.”

However, he conceded it wasn’t a perfect system. “The lack of bus lanes and traffic light priority make for too many slow commutes.”

Meanwhile, Mr O’Leary warned of a withdrawal of certain city bus services due to anti-social behaviour.

He referenced an incident last week in St John’s Well in Cork, where a bus driver was shot in the face with a pellet gun, as an example of the type of behaviour on buses.

He also said the rise in racial abuse on public transport was shocking.

“The message to the government and the National Transport Authority is enough is enough,” he told The Echo.

“People are using a public service; we have had enough of the verbal and physical attacks and abuse. Something needs to be done.”