Sinn Féin TD for Meath East and the party’s spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke, says it is very disappointing that a design team for the Navan Rail project will not be appointed in 2023.Teachta O’Rourke made the comments following a response he received from the National Transport Authority (NTA) confirming that it is likely to be next year before a design team will be put in place for the Navan Rail project due to the number of projects already ongoing and resource constraints within the system.
He told Meath Live, “It is welcome that the Navan Rail line is included in the GDA Transport Strategy 2022-2042, but this Government will not commit to commence construction before 2031. This is something that needs to change. It is equally important that the option selection, planning and design processes begin immediately.
“Sinn Féin, and I as Transport spokesperson, will continue to campaign for the earliest possible delivery for the Navan Rail project. Our campaign in opposition has 2 focuses – 1) get the project through planning as quickly as possible; 2) secure additional funding in the National Development Plan (NDP) to deliver the project. In opposition we will fight for this. In Government, we would deliver it.
“To this end, I tabled questions to the NTA regarding the plan to put a design team in place for Navan Rail.
“In his response to me, the Deputy Chief Executive of the NTA said; “In line with the National Development Plan, and as noted within the transport strategy, the Navan rail line is phased for delivery post 2030. In order to be in a position to deliver the project during this period, the NTA has commenced discussions with Irish Rail in relation to the establishment of a design team to commence the option selection, planning and design phases of the project. However, given the number of ongoing projects within the rail portfolio, coupled with resource constraints, it is likely to be next year before a design team could be put in place for the Navan Rail Line.” “This is very disappointing, but it is not surprising unfortunately. It reflects perfectly the project’s standing within this Government’s list of priorities. There are a number of rail projects of greater priority for this Government so they get the focus, they get the attention, they get the resources. Dart+ and the Luas Green Line Upgrade projects are examples.
“It is essential that the campaign to deliver Navan Rail continues. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael representatives in Meath should recognise the need to put a design team in place immediately and to provide additional funding in the NDP before 2030. They should recognise this, and they should deliver it. Anything else is meaningless bluster.”