Fianna Fáil TD for Louth Declan Breathnach says he is disappointed to learn that the Government has failed to undertake a cost-benefit analysis on the possibility of building a high speed railway line between Dublin and Belfast.

Last month it was reported that the Government was at an advanced stage in pushing for EU funding to upgrade the Dublin – Belfast railway. However, new information obtained by Fianna Fáil highlights that the necessary groundwork for such a project has not been carried out to date.

Deputy Breathnach said, “On April 17th last it was reported that the Government was pushing for EU funding to deliver a much needed upgrade to the Dublin – Belfast rail line. The aim of this upgrade is to cut the journey time between the two cities in half. Currently a direct train from Connolly Station to Belfast takes approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes. The upgrading the railway would allow for the journey to be completed in just one hour and would also benefit commuters in Louth.

“I was encouraged to read comments from Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan regarding this proposed upgrade. The tone of the interview made it seem as if the preparation for the project was at an advanced stage. However Fianna Fáil has followed up on this in the Dáil and the information we have received shows that little to no work has been carried out on this project to date. The Government hasn’t even commissioned a cost-benefit analysis of the proposal which is a basic requirement for securing EU funding.

“The Government needs to realise that spin will not deliver this vital railway project. Improved transport links between north and south are needed now more than ever in light of the challenges posed by Brexit. It’s deeply disappointing to learn that the Government is yet to carry out the necessary groundwork to deliver improved train travel times between Belfast and Dublin. The Government should focus more on actual action rather than simply just engaging in media spinning,” concluded Deputy Breathnach.