Saturday 17 March 2018

Storm damage: €5m in emergency funding for Iarnrod Eireann

THE Government is to provide Iarnrod Eireann with €5m in emergency funding to repair damage caused by recent storms.

The bulk of the money, €2.8m, will spent repairing the roof at Cork's Kent Station which was ripped off during high winds last December.

There is also funding to shore-up the rockface at Waterford's Plunkett Station, which was closed following a landslide on New Year's Eve.

Other minor works at stations including Pearse in Dublin will also be completed.

"This is a welcome move," Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly said. "Having recently visited Cork station, some of the damage caused by the severe winds was quite dramatic.

"This funding will go towards the full repair of the roof with an additional €500,000 for renewal works on depot buildings. All transport operators must be safety conscious at all times and I look forward to the repair works being completed.

"Train stations are a hugely important access point for public transport. Much of the country's transport infrastructure suffered from the recent bad weather, so we have made a decision to re-allocate funds targeting the worst areas of the rail system affected."

A spokesman for Irish Rail welcomed the funding, and said the money would help restore services to all stations.

"We're been operating routes (in Cork) with reduced platforms," he said. "The two platforms in question have been out of use. That was a shelter facility and it gives up operational flexibility.

 "There has been significant works in Plunkett with 7,000 tonnes of material removed from the rockface. This covers the cost of those works and prevent occurrence in the future.

"There's some remedial works in Pearse but there's a far bigger job in the coming years where we would like to replace the entire roof. That's a €12m project. This will enable us to make remedial improvements."

The funding is part of a wider overall package of €70 funding recognising the widespread damage caused by the severe weather.

Paul Melia Environment Correspondent

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