Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Eamon Ó Cuív has called on the government to explain why there is a delay in the publication of the Rail Survey for 2019 having raised the matter with the Minister for Transport.

Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “Every year Iarnród Éireann, in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA), carry out a National Rail Census that counts the number of passengers travelling on the various rail services. This survey was carried out last November. However, in a recent question to the Minister I asked when the Rail Survey for 2019 will be published. In a reply to me, the NTA said that they expected to complete the compilation of the Rail Census over the next two months.

“These two added months mean it could be May before this census is published, six months after it was taken, subject to a caveat by the NTA that this is on the provision of personnel to undertake the work.

“In this day and age, one would think that this census would be taken in such a way that it could be produced in a very short period of time, but my unfortunate experience with the NTA is that they are very slow in dealing with issues.

“In relation to the development of services around Galway, the information from the Rail Census is vital, as it would appear from anecdotal evidence that there has been a large increase in the number of passengers travelling on rail services in and out of Galway, both on the Limerick line and on the Dublin line. If this can be confirmed by the Rail Census, it will strengthen the case for improved services on both lines which would create even more traffic and also strengthen the case for the re-opening of the line to both Tuam and Claremorris.

“I have been campaigning for the provision of a passing loop at Oranmore on the Galway to Athenry railway line, which would cost a very modest amount of money, to ensure that the frequency of trains into Galway could be increased dramatically from what it is at present.

“More trains coming into Galway, will mean more passengers and more passengers will lead to ever better services, as we have seen for example, with the development of commuter services into Dublin. There is no reason that what has happened around Dublin, would not happen in the catchment area of Galway, given the massive amount of traffic in this region,” concluded Deputy Ó Cuív.