Tuesday, September 03, 2019

DESIGNATING transport links between Rosslare, Waterford and Limerick as a ‘core network’ has been recommended in a Green Party submission to the Department of Transport authored by Tramore-Waterford City West Councillor Marc Ó Cathasaigh.

The submission, issued during the consultation window for the Department’s Draft Climate Adaptation Plan (which closed on August 12), calls for the Rosslare-Waterford-Limerick connection to be included in the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T). But, as Cllr Ó Cathasaigh’s submission notes, state: “The route, as it stands, is not even included in the second tier ‘comprehensive network’.”

Citing Brexit in addition to increasing climate change concerns, the Councillor’s submission notes: “An upgraded connection running from Rosslare to Limerick would serve three of the island’s largest ports – Rosslare, the Port of Waterford and Foynes, two airports – Shannon and Waterford, and serve to connect two of our regional cities. With the spectre of a hard Brexit looming at the end of October, we should be considering how we develop capacity at our ports closest to the continent, where it looks like we’ll be doing most of our trading in the future.

“At the moment, our transport policy seems to be to run everything in and out of Dublin, even though the M50, Dublin Port and all the surrounding infrastructure are creaking at the seams.  Developing a high quality connection from Waterford to Limerick, which would intersect with the Dublin-Cork corridor, could provide an important counterweight to this Dublin-centric thinking.”

The submission also recommends an investment in rail infrastructure, linking the South East and Mid-West in a manner that hasn’t been provided for or promoted in any substantial manner for several decades.

“It’s shocking to think that less than one per cent of our freight in this country is carried by rail, even though it’s the most energy efficient way to move heavy goods,” writes Cllr Ó Cathasaigh.

“Similarly, offering high speed rail connections between Limerick and Waterford would not only increase connectivity between those cities, but would also allow people resident in Clonmel and Carrick to consider the train as an effective commuting option. That would put an additional 25,000 people within easy commuting reach of Waterford city, terminating right underneath the proposed North Quays development.”

The submission stresses the significance of TEN-T designation, as it unlocks funding and makes sure Waterford features in this type of strategic planning.

Cllr Ó Cathasaigh concludes: “Already, government plans to roll out a CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) network for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), funded under the EU Commission’s Green Connects Project, leaves Waterford behind while Limerick, Cork and Dublin move ahead.”

Green Party Councillor Marc Ó Cathasaigh. Photo: Joe Evans

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