Dunkettle train station stopped in its tracks

IARNRÓD Éireann’s plans to build a new commuter railway station on the Cork-Midleton line have been shunted into the sidings by An Bord Pleanála.

The semi-state company had applied for planning permission to build the station at Dunkettle but was involved in a row with the National Roads Authority (NRA) over land ownership.

Cork County Council had granted Iarnród Éireann permission for two platforms, a footbridge, a 367-space park and ride facility and ancillary works at the site. But the NRA appealed the decision.

The NRA said the land was in the registered ownership of Cork County Council, but argued it was originally purchased in the early 1990s by the Department of the Environment for national road-related purposes.

In its submission to the planning appeals board, the NRA said established procedures required the council to obtain prior approval from the National Roads Authority for any disposal of the land to Iarnród Éireann.

The NRA said it did not give permission and insisted there was every prospect that all, or at least part of the land concerned, would be required for the upgrade of the Dunkettle interchange.

The NRA argued the land – valued at €4 million – formed part of a current consultancy study for the junction upgrade. The NRA said the land should therefore be preserved for that purpose.

It was also suggested there was up to four other sites nearby which would be equally suitable for a railway station along with a park and ride facility.

Bord Pleanála refused Iarnród Éireann permission on the grounds it would be premature to build anything on the land until the NRA had finalised its future plans for the Dunkettle interchange.

Deputy Deirdre Clune (FG) said it was unfortunate the NRA, Iarnród Éireann and Cork Co Council could not have had better lines of communication earlier in the process to agree a site that was acceptable to all parties.

“Instead, we have a situation where taxpayers’ money was wasted and we are left with a project that has to go back to the drawing board,” Ms Clune said.

“The travelling public are the main losers here as they have been denied the opportunity to use a rail line operating at its most efficient.”

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