I wish to make a case for the restoration of the rail line to Youghal in a local, national and international context. Nearly every day, we see and hear from the popular press the effects of climate change all over our world.
It is accepted by most right-thinking people that the way we live today cannot continue. To respond to the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement set down international guidelines to help address the excesses of fossil fuel consumption, and pathways to guide the future development of our planet. Our government has committed to follow the Paris Agreement and to cut our harmful emissions in accordance with EU standards. Part of doing so will involve a major reduction in transport emissions, and with that an easing of our reliance on cars for commuting.
It is very evident to me that the letter writers to various publications about a Greenway between Youghal and Midleton are not considering the development of our region in the broader context of our climate change requirements. They are strongly influenced by the success of the Waterford Greenway. In my opinion, they should wish The Waterford Greenway well and concentrate on making good of our own local assets: our history, heritage and beach. A mini Mizen Head-type bridge could be built over the Womanagh to create a truly great walking/cycling trail linking up with Knockadoon to the mutual benefit of both communities.
To provide cyclists with safe cycling lanes between Youghal and Cork, Cork County Council could repeat on the N25 the project they are proposing on the N8 between Watergrasshill and Mitchelstown. One of the main knock on benefits of climate action is an improvement in air quality as we transition to renewable energy. This is important to us all, particularly the many millions of people around the world who suffer from lung cancer, myself included. I ask you to take a look at your own families and neighbours and see how many suffer from cancer or respiratory illness. Clean air is a primary requirement for good health.
If Cork County Council go ahead and build a Greenway between Youghal and Midleton, they will bring more vehicles on to the road thereby creating more congestion and pollution. There is at this moment in time approximately 17,000 vehicles passing through the sheltered villages of Killeagh and Castlemartyr daily (NRA figures).
Do we want to increase that number of vehicles going through Killeagh and Castlemartyr, both of which have primary schools close to the N25? Cork County Council will also have vandalised a national asset, the very asset that would have helped our region achieve the ambitions of Paris Climate Conference. They will be disregarding national and international standards on decarbonisation. They will have squandered a great opportunity to make an impact on the serious problem of traffic congestion by redeveloping our public transport system. It would be great if Cork County Council grasped this opportunity to make East Cork and especially Youghal an integral part of the county again. With more political imagination, East Cork could set an example for other regions by restoring the rail line with an electric train.
Despite what Barry Kenny, Iarnród Éireann public relations officer, has said, the re-opening of the Youghal-Midleton line was referenced in 2030 Rail Network of Oct 2011 Appraisal of Rail Lines Page 113 8.3.1 Appraisal of Proposed New Rail Lines. A number of new rail lines have been suggested.
These include the following: An extension of the Midleton Line to Youghal; 8.5. Overview Page 116
With regard to proposals for new lines, the following were analysed: An extension of the Midleton Line to Youghal; Also in 2016, the National Transport Authority published the Rail Review 2016 Report. Appendix 2 August 2016 The Role of Rail towards a National Rail Policy. See comments from that report below.
1.6.2 Commuting into Cork. Page 8.
Census figures suggest that to the east of the city demand is strong as far out as Midleton including from Carrigtwohill, Cobh, Rushbrooke and Carrigaloe — areas where commuter rail is provided. The figures would be much better if all of East Cork and West Waterford were included.
Appendix 6 The Route Profitability Analysis: 17 Routes were identified for the Route Profitability Analysis: The Cork Commuter line was included in this analysis, and as can be seen in the analysis the Cork Commuter did very well especially when it did not have all of East Cork and West Waterford.
The volume of traffic on our roads has greatly increased since this time. As things stand, traffic congestion, associated pollution and carbon emissions can only get worse with the projected population growth for the region over the coming decades.
This particular Greenway Project will increase air pollution.
Rail represents clean air and promotes good health.