Dart for Cork to move a step closer as Cabinet signs off on new electric train carriages

The carriages will be used in the DART system as well as for a future rapid transit system in Cork.
Dart for Cork to move a step closer as Cabinet signs off on new electric train carriages

The Dart+ Coastal North is expected to dramatically increase train service frequency and capacity in the Greater Dublin Area. Picture: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

Cork's version of the Dart train service will move a step closer today as the Cabinet signs off on 90 new battery-electric train carriages.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan is seeking Cabinet approval to allow Iarnród Éireann to order the new train carriages in the coming weeks.

The carriages will be used in expanding the Dart system in the Greater Dublin Area and Wicklow region as well as for a future Cork area rapid transit system.

Government sources estimate the purchase will increase the number of people who can access a frequent, high-capacity rail service from about 250,000 at present to 600,000 in the future.

The carriages will be delivered to the Irish rail system in 2026 in addition to the 95 new electric and battery-electric Dart carriages already approved by the Government last December, for delivery in 2025.

Fines for supermarkets

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue says the new Agri-Food Regulator will 'have real teeth'. Picture: Brian Lawless
Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue says the new Agri-Food Regulator will 'have real teeth'. Picture: Brian Lawless

Separately, Cabinet will be told that suppliers and supermarkets that pay farmers late for their produce, or impose unfair contract changes, could face fines of up to €10m under plans being brought by the Agriculture Minister.

Charlie McConalogue will seek approval to commence the legislative process for the establishment of a new Agri-Food Regulator that will have the power to impose significant fines for unfair trading practices.

The regulator will have powers to investigate practices such as late payments to farmers and primary producers, as well as the misuse of trade secrets and unfair contract changes. 

The new watchdog will also be able to issue fines of up to €10m or 10% of turnover on companies found to be breaching trading practice rules.

Mr McConalogue previously said the office will have “real teeth” and will “shine a light” on unfair trading practices within the sector.

The recruitment of a chief executive officer for the Agri-Food Regulator is currently ongoing, with interviews set to take place shortly.

Christmas bonus

Meanwhile, Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys will bring a memo to Cabinet today that seeks to extend the payment of the Christmas bonus to people in receipt of illness benefits for 12 months or longer. 

There are currently around 17,500 people who are in receipt of the support for 12 months or more.

Housing

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris is to seek approval for plans to significantly increase the supply of student accommodation that will see the State invest in the construction of units accommodating 700 beds in Maynooth, Limerick, and Galway.

The proposal will include ring-fencing rooms at a reduced rate for priority groups.

His department is also due to consult with University College Dublin and Dublin City University with a view to bringing further proposals to Government shortly.

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien. Picture: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos
Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien. Picture: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien will also inform Cabinet that the upcoming rent threshold increases will include a 12-month "lookback". 

This will mean that anyone who lost their place on a social housing list because their income went above the previous maximum level, but who is under the current maximum, can apply to be put back on the social housing waiting list at their previous spot.

Mr O'Brien will bring another memo commencing Part 9 of the Land Development Agency Act, meaning that 100% of everything the agency develops in Dublin and Cork cities must be social or affordable housing.

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