A transport system is needed for West Cork to rival the one it had a century ago

A transport system is needed for West Cork to rival the one it had a century ago
Map the route of the Cork Bandon and South Coast Railway.

The need for a public transport system in west Cork to rival the one which existed more than a century ago has been raised in the Dál with the Taoiseach.

Independent TD Michael Collins said that in 2019, it was "astonishing" that west Cork has no rail service or a connecting bus service to Kent Station.

During Leaders Questions this week, Mr Collins said: "The Taoiseach is probably aware that, in 1886, we had rail right through west Cork to Schull and, in 1892, on the northern side of West Cork, we had rail all way to down to Bantry."

A train crossing the Chetwynd Viaduct on March 1, 1961.
A train crossing the Chetwynd Viaduct on March 1, 1961.

"It is astonishing that, in 2019, not alone do we not have rail in West Cork, we do not even have a connecting bus service to the train station from West Cork."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar responded: "In 1886, we had railways all over the country. We did not have so many roads and we had no dual carriageways, no motorways and very few people owned cars, so it was a very different world back then."

"It was the development of the roads and the expansion in car ownership that caused the railways to close in the first place because they became non-viable."

Mr Collins suggested a Park and Ride system be created in parts of West Cork.

"I know there is no hope of getting rail to west Cork but the Taoiseach can ensure something is done," Mr Collins said.

"Will the Government consider putting in place a park and ride type service for west Cork as a pilot project? Specifically, a park and ride type service from Clonakilty to Cork city would be of major advantage to workers and others travelling to the city."

"If such a service was properly run, it could have buses linking from Skibbereen to Mizen Head, from Dunmanway through to Bantry to the Beara and Sheep's Head peninsulas and could also cater for people from Bandon, Innishannon and surrounding areas on its way to Cork.

"For every 40 people travelling by public transport to work, 30 cars fewer would be on the road. The reduction in traffic congestion and carbon emissions could be considerable," Mr Collins said.

In response, Mr Varadkar said he will take up the deputy's suggestion with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the National Transport Authority.

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