There’s been cross-party condemnation of press reports which suggest that Iarnród Éireann is considering the closure of Waterford’s rail links with both Rosslare and Limerick Junction.
The move has also been met with disappointment in neighbouring Wexford by New Ross-based TD Seán Connick, rumoured for a cabinet appointment by Brian Cowen come the imminent reshuffle.
Leas-Ceann Comhairle Brendan Howlin, who received a letter from Emmet Cotter, Iarnród Éireann’s Waterford District Manager, is also less than impressed with the news.
News obtained by RTE and elaborated upon by The Sunday Tribune last weekend suggest that secret talks have been held between Iarnród Éireann and Transport Minister Noel Dempsey regarding the closure of the Waterford/Limerick Junction line.
While learning of transport planning via press leaks was bad enough, Fine Gael Senator Paudie Coffey said what was reportedly being considered made no sense “in an overall transport strategy”.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.
In a letter to Deputy Howlin, Emmet Cotter said that at present, only 25 passengers are using the Rosslare-Waterford line daily, with revenues on the line significantly reduced since sugar beet production ceased in 2006.
“Iarnród Éireann say they only recoup two per cent of the cost of the Rosslare line in fares,” said Senator Coffey. “But since they hardly run any trains, this is not surprising.”
A train runs from Rosslare to Waterford at 7am and returns from Waterford at 5.20pm, scheduling which hardly encourages significant passenger use of the line, according to Senator Coffey and Deputy Connick.