THE development of a rail link to Shannon International Airport would help to transform the international airport, according to the county’s first citizen.
A renewed call for the provision of this rail link was made by Councillor PJ Ryan at a council meeting on Monday.
Councillor Ryan urged Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to provide this rail link, which would provide a huge boost the airport, and would also provide some certainty for land owners, as two possible routes are currently identified in the County Development Plan.
Down through the years, the councillor recalled he and other members such as Pat McMahon and John Crowe have called for a rail link to Shannon Airport.
In view of Minister Ryan’s preference for rail transport, Councillor Ryan believes they should be pushing an open door in terms of securing his support for this venture.
He urged Minister Ryan to secure a slice of significant EU Greenway funding to cover the cost of this rail link.
With routes for the rail link included in three County Development Plans, Councillor Ryan said the affected land owners deserved some clarity about which one was being selected.
“Any rail link to Shannon Airport needs to take in Bunratty. If Clare County Council does succeed in taking over Bunratty Castle from Shannon Heritage, it would be a big boost to get a rail link to include Bunratty on its way to Shannon Airport.”
Councillor Johnny Flynn said the development of a rail link is vital for the airport, and claimed the
draft Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy is “Limerick-centric”.
Director of Service, Liam Conneally stated the Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023 and the Shannon Town and Environs Local Area Plan 2012-2018 support the provision of a rail link into Shannon Town and extending to Shannon International Airport through the identification of an infrastructural safeguard.
Mr Conneally recommended that this existing rail infrastructural safeguard should be retained in the new County Development Plan.
“The Draft Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy is available and contains the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) view on suburban rail provision and includes specific mention of the Shannon rail link.
“Clare County Council will continue to liaise with the NTA and relevant stakeholders in the conclusion of this transport strategy.
“I will arrange for correspondence to issue on behalf of the council to the Minister for Transport setting out the current situation and calling on government to clarify their plans on rail infrastructure provision and specifically the position on the Shannon Rail Link.
“The Government’s position will directly impact the transport infrastructure content of the upcoming Draft County Development Plan and the remaining stages of the Limerick
Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy preparation,” he stated.
By Dan Danaher