Tipperary TDs clash over future of rail lines

Kelly hits out at McGrath

Tipperary rail line closure threat

Two Tipperary TDs have become embroiled in a war of words over the future of railway lines in the county.

Fears for the future of two lines in the county surfaced when Irish Rail questonioned if the company could afford to keep them open in the face of a pay claim submitted to the company.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said last week that there are significant challenges in terms of justifying the continued operation of the Ballybrophy line when it appears to cost almost €800 per passenger.

But he said the same cannot be said for the Limerick Junction to Waterford route where he says demand is of such a level as to fully justify its retention.

But this week Labour TD Alan Kelly hit out at what he described as Deputy McGrath's 'partitionist position' on Tipperary's railway lines whicn he said is completely unacceptable.

Deputy Kelly said - “Last week he stated that he couldn't justify supporting the continuance of the Ballybrophy line but he could support the Limerick Junction to Waterford line.

“So in effect Deputy McGrath wants to keep the line that is running in the Southern end of the county but wants to close the one in the Northern end. How can he adopt such a stance and still say he wants to represent all the people of Tipperary equally.

“I have fought to save both these railway lines throughout my political career. Indeed during the financial crisis when there was no money available I was able to keep both these lines open as Minister for Public Transport.

“I represented both lines and both sides of the county equally unlike Deputy McGrath.

These lines need huge investment and they need to have better services that in particular service commuters to Dublin and other cities. If these services are built, well then the customers will come.

“Rail infrastructure is very important to the future of our county and any closure of Rail lines would result in 9 stations closing across Tipperary. This is not acceptable. It would be contrary to Programme for Government, the Regional Action Plan for Jobs and also the Rural Action Plan.

“It would also be contrary to the Government's Climate Change commitments”.