Aontú leader Peadar Toibín, who chairs the Meath On Track campaign, has told Meath Live that despite the positive vibes emerging about the Navan to Dublin rail link, commuters patience is wearing thin.
He said, “The Meath on Track Campaign is 20 years old this year. We have campaigned consistently for the Rail line to be built to Navan to alleviate the commuter hell that tens of thousands of people are in in Meath.
“Ireland has the fourth longest commute time in Europe. Meath has the longest commute time in Ireland. Meath is the only county in the country where more people leave the county than stay in the county for work every day”.
“The Rail Line is an essential step in alleviating this. The rail line will intersect with the Sandyford Luas line at Cabra station and terminate at the IFSC. This will open up large swathes of Dublin to commuter access, The project would also offer significant economic benefits to Meath, providing much-needed infrastructure for businesses and enabling the creation of new jobs in the area”.
“We welcome the inclusion of the Rail Line in the National Development Plan but we have been here before. Currently there is no money assigned to this project at all. It will still take a decision of a future government to assign the funding. This is not good enough and it means that the project is still up in the air”.
“The state made a surplus of €5billion last year and the government just put €4billion into the rainy day fund. If the government meant business, they would ring fence the money now”.
“The timescale is not acceptable at all. Construction is to start in 2031 with completion potentially between 2036 and 2042. Remember the Navan to Dublin Line was built originally in 3 years with picks and shovels.
“At a public meeting of the Meath on Track Campaign this week it was agreed that we will ramp up the pressure on the government. We need scoping and the route map to be complete before the next election. We need the funds agreed and ring fenced before the next election. We need construction to start by 2027. We will be ramping up a major people power campaign to make that happen”.
“We will be collecting petitions outside shopping areas and door to door. We will be organizing public demonstrations. We are asking members of the public to email, send letters, phone and visit elected representatives to tell them that we must speed up this project and assign funds now. We pull in other groups also, especially civic society groups, workers groups, business and sporting groups. We will not wait another 20 years for this project to be delivered”.