Public meeting to look at use of old rail lines

Public meeting to look at use of old rail lines

Youghal railway station in the early part of the 20th century. Opinion is divided between converting the old track into a walking route or protecting it so the rail link to the city can be restored.

The debate over a proposed East Cork Greenway is set to re-emerge, with the Green Party planning to host a public meeting in Youghal entitled “Should we bring back the Youghal Railway?” 

Youghal representatives including independent Councillor Mary Linehan-Foley have been campaigning for a cycling and walking amenity, inspired by Co Waterford’s successful Déise Greenway, for the 22km disused former railway line between Midleton and Youghal.

Cork County Council have plans for a €6 million Greenway development, which they say would be a “flagship project” for the area and a boon to local businesses.

But some Youghal residents disagree and say the railway should be brought back into use to provide transport links with Cork City and the East Cork area.

Green Party speakers including Éamon Ryan TD and former TD, Senator and Cork City Councillor Dan Boyle will be joined by Sinn Féin, Labour and Fianna Fáil TDs for a public meeting in the Walter Raleigh Hotel to discuss reinstating the Youghal Railway service, which closed to the public in 1963.

Last November, Cork County Council said plans for the proposed Greenway would be made available for public consultation “in the coming weeks.” So far, no plans have been displayed.

Dan Boyle said the meeting, which will take place on the 14 th of May, was an opportunity to have a public debate before any irreversible decision was made in relation to the disused line.

“The promise that the Greenway could be returned to use as a railway line in the future if the need arises is a hollow one,” Mr Boyle said. “We run the risk of throwing the railway out with the bathwater here.” “Traffic congestion is a major quality of life issue for thousands of commuters taking the N25 every day,” East Cork Greens election candidate Liam Quaid said.

He said the Greens fully supported the idea of a Greenway for the region, but that it should not be constructed on the railway line, and that funding should be made available for both projects.

He said the Ireland 2040 National Development Plan had progressive public transport plans for Dublin, but those for the rest of the country were “primitive by comparison.”

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