THE delivery of the Kilbarry/Blackpool rail station and its connections could be key to connectivity to the city centre while also supporting the retail sector in the northside, a city councillor has said.
FF Cllr Tony Fitzgerald put forward a motion at Monday night’s city council meeting on the development of a railway station at Kilbarry/Blackpool.
Fearghal Reidy, Director of Services, Strategic Planning & Economic Development at Cork City Council said that discussions are ongoing with Irish Rail and the National Transport Agency (NTA) in relation to funding of transport infrastructure, including suburban rail, in the Cork Metropolitan Area.
The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) includes an objective of developing additional suburban rail stations including Kilbarry / Blackpool.
Iarnród Éireann (IÉ) is appointing a consultant in May, to deliver a Strategic Assessment Report and a Concept, Feasibility and Options Study for the Cork Area Commuter Rail programme, Mr Reidy said.
At the council meeting, Mr Reidy said that the density of existing and future development in the area would be considered in the review that Irish Rail is currently conducting.
He said that the review will consider matters like density of development and access to transport.
Speaking to, Cllr Fitzgerald said: “If we were to address an increase in public transport and take cars off the road, then we need the connectivity between the northside and the city centre and onto east Cork."
Welcoming the ongoing discussions with Irish Rail, the NTA and City Council, Cllr Fitgerald said that he is “very happy” with the progress but stated that should be prioritised for the northside as housing development projects are increasing.
He described the station at Kilbarry/Blackpool as “the ideal location to provide a connection from Blarney to the city centre and onto East Cork”.
He said that there is “ample space” to develop a platform and car parking space at Kilbarry/Blackpool which would support the retail sector on the northside of the City.
“Funding is being pursued by Government through IÉ under the EU Recovery and Resilience Fund and it is important that this comes to fruition very quickly so that we can increase the retail trade, the connectivity to the city centre and the increase in public transport from the northside to the city centre,” he said.
“The infrastructure is there, the need is there so it's crucial that we secure the funding,” he added.