Saturday 3 December 2016

Government has a choice: fund network or start closing lines

Published 19/11/2016 | 02:30

Irish Rail has accumulated losses of €150m Photo: Colin Watters
Irish Rail has accumulated losses of €150m Photo: Colin Watters

It seems astonishing that a company with assets valued at more than €2bn and revenues approaching €235m in 2015 is so cash-strapped that it cannot afford a lick of paint.

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Yet this is precisely the depths to which Irish Rail has fallen. Years of repeated cuts in State funding, which were already low by international standards, coupled with an immediate need to invest in ageing infrastructure, has resulted in station painting being deferred in an effort to save money.

This week it emerged the company has accumulated losses of €150m, and is forecast to lose another €11m this year. It needs a cash injection of some €103m every year for the next five to restore it to financial stability, or it will become insolvent.

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