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Irish Rail deputation received by Tipperary Council

Following on from a motion by Cahir Based Councillor Andy Moloney last November, a deputation was received from Irish Rail at this months meeting of the Cahir-Cashel-Tipperary district council.

Moloney's motion that the NTA ( National Transport Authority) look at the rail service in the district with regards to passenger timetables and its plans for a freight train on the Waterford to Limerick Junction line in conjunction with its policy to advance the transition to low emissions transport system and the administration of the smarter travel workplace programme. Both of which are NTA policy.

This was expanded on the day to include the decimation of the hedgerows along the line and update on the maintenance of the Cahir Station and its possible leasing of its building to a community group.

Irish Rail was represented at the meeting by Barry Kelly, Jim Dempsey and John Furlong.

While accepting that the Waterford to Limerick Junction line was not ideal as it was but was keen to point out that 43,000 passengers were catered for in 2019 was up 3.7% and nationally over 50million passengers carried was up 7%.

Moloney said that the timetable was of no benefit to anyone trying to make an early appointment in Cork or Dublin and needed to be examined.

Barry Kelly told the meeting that we have passed the time that rail lines are a threat of closure and over the coming years they will be built upon.

Cllr Moloney was keen to stress that we are losing out on a freight business on the line that could alleviate congestion on the N24 and add to the low carbon emissions plan. Mr kelly states that there was no state support for rail freight and the cost was borne by the customer in full. This was an issue that needed to be addressed by the government.

On the matter of maintenance works on the Cahir station, Moloney has agreed to meet up with acting maintenance manager in the coming weeks to discuss same.

The other major issue at the meeting was the serious removal of hedgerows along the line which Irish Rail say are necessary for Health and Safety of the passengers was discussed.

Moloney said that it seemed extreme to say the least and the replanting programme was not happening. Everyone understood that safety was paramount but 100% removal was unnecessary and was a lazy man's way of doing work and questioned their commitment to the national pollinator plan who are partners along the network.

He asked Barry Kelly to meet with the “Save our Hedgerows” committee to which he replied that he would get the necessary people together as soon as possible and meet then deputation at their earliest convenience.

A lot was aired out at the meeting and some light was thrown on issues by both sides. There is a better understanding now of the lack of locomotives, passenger carriages, drivers and much more capped off by a staffing embargo for years that they hoped is now lifted and investment sanctioned to address the many issues raised by the councillor.