IRISH Rail has agreed in principle to support Cork County Council’s application for funding for the reopening of three railway stations in Buttevant, Mourneabbey and Rathduff.
The council wants new stations opened on the Cork - Limerick line at Mourneabbey and Rathduff, and the station at Buttevant reopened.
The commitment was made in a recent letter to Cork County Council by Iarnród Éireann chief executive Jim Meade who said Irish Rail will lend its support to any effort the council might make to get funding through the National Development Plan’s (NDP) Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF).
Mr Meade said capital investments are funded through government and/or local development contributions but added that Iarnród Éireann would lend its support to an application for funding on the basis of a positive business plan.
The chief executive however stressed that it would be a matter for the local authority to source the matching funds.
In response to the letter, it was agreed following a proposal from Fianna Fáil councillor Gearoid Murphy that the council would seek to arrange a meeting with the various stakeholders such as Irish Rail, the National Transport Authority, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, and communities in North Cork to progress the opening of the stations.
Fine Gael councillor Liam Madden said it is important all the stakeholders get together.
His Fine Gael colleague Cllr John Paul O’Shea said ‘continued engagement’ needs to be held in relation to the updating and upgrading of rail services right throughout Cork County.
Fianna Fáil councillor Gearoid Murphy was pleased with the ‘positive’ nature of the letter from the CEO of Irish Rail.
“It is a positive letter. It suggests there is a way for Cork County Council to progress this ourselves. If there is an opportunity for us to do this, I would definitely like us to take that.”
Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey said the council will work with Iarnród Éireann.
"The opening of the railways along those lines is very much dependent on population growth and a business case put forward by Iarnród Éireann so that they can secure the funding.”
Fianna Fáil councillor Pat Hayes said light rail and services are needed to connect north Cork and east Cork to the bigger urban areas.