Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport Robert Troy has warned the Government that it will have to invest in rail infrastructure to secure the long-term survival of rail services.

Deputy Troy made the comments after it was revealed that the Government are considering swingeing cutbacks to key Intercity services in an attempt to plug a growing deficit.

Deputy Troy said, “Rail services have been consistently underfunded by this Government. Minister Ross has no long-term vision for developing our rail network. He has sat back and watched the difficulties at Irish Rail unfold without taking any sort of corrective action.

“It’s beyond belief that key Intercity services face closure at a time when we should be increasing investment in public transport to help deal with our housing crisis and meet our renewal energy targets. I have long argued that proper strategic investment in the rail network has the potential to make a massive positive impact on the housing crisis.

“Shutting down key Intercity services may help solve the funding deficit in the short-term, but in the long run it only serves to hollow out the company which will only exacerbate the funding crisis. The emphasis should be on trying to encourage more people to use Intercity services to help boost revenue at Irish Rail. This can only happen if the service is improved which will undoubtedly require long-term investment.

“Fianna Fáil published its submission to the National Transport Authority (NTA) consultation on the future of rail services in 2016. Our proposals contained a number of measures to help encourage people to use rail services by making the infrastructure fit for purpose. Unfortunately Minister Ross decided to ignore these proposals, and those of many other groups, and simply turned a blind eye to the problems facing Irish Rail.

“Everyone understands that certain services can be better served by other forms of public transport, but this doesn’t apply to key Intercity services. Minister Ross needs to fight for investment in the rail infrastructure to help secure services into the future.”