Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D have reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing all-island rail following the closure of the public consultation phase of the All Island Strategic Rail Review.
A key element of the Review was to gain insights from interested stakeholders and the wider public on the future of rail on the island of Ireland. With over 7,000 responses to the consultation, both Ministers received an update from consultants ARUP on the initial findings from this phase of the Review at a progress meeting today.
Minister Nichola Mallon said: “Minister Ryan and I have a shared ambition for rail and are committed to improving our network for citizens across the island through our All Island Strategic Rail Review. The public consultation phase was a vital step in delivering this important piece of work and I am delighted to have delivered this key stage. Today we met with the consultants at ARUP, along with Minister Ryan to hear the out-workings of the consultation, to understand the views of the public and stakeholders and to ensure that their priorities are a focal point of the Review as it moves forward.
“With over 7,000 responses received, this highlights that this work is long overdue and has captured the imagination of the public across the whole island. In that regard, the consultation has clearly demonstrated that our citizens view decarbonisation and enhancing connectivity as key components of this Review and these factors will play a strong role as we move forward to the next stage.
“Minister Ryan and I have ensured now that working in partnership the next steps will move at pace. The next phase now will see ARUP analyse the comments and feedback received to ensure that the final report fully considers the views of our citizens when published by the end of the year.
“This is an exciting opportunity for people, communities and our island economy. The benefits of enhanced rail connections cross Ireland will improve lives and have significant benefits that a better connected island could bring not just to people but also for our environment. I believe that this is our chance to deliver real and lasting change. I’m proud that in government, Minister Ryan and I have shown that working together in the interests of people works and I hope we can continue working closely to see delivery on our aspirations for all island rail.”
Minister Ryan said: “I’m delighted with the progress of the All-Island Strategic Rail Review. The incredible public response has shown the importance of rail for regional accessibility and demonstrated wide support for sustainable public transport. The public and stakeholders’ ambitions for the future of passenger and freight rail transport will play a significant role in the future work of the Review, informing concepts to enhance the rail network and, in doing so, enhance connectivity, drive decarbonisation and support sustainable social and economic development.
“Minister Mallon and I are committed to increasing low-carbon mobility and regional accessibility. Through rail we can sustainably enhance connectivity to improve the quality of life for all citizens on the island of Ireland.”