Council moves to add Limerick train station to derelict register

Aine Fitzgerald

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Aine Fitzgerald

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aine.fitzgerald@limerickleader.ie

Council moves to add Limerick train station to derelict register

Concerned Kilmallock resident Peter Hennessy at the local train station. He says 30 trains pass through every day

THE CHIEF executive of Iarnród Éireann says he is not aware of any plans to reopen Kilmallock Railway Station “and given the population density of the area, the business case will not yield a positive return for the necessary capital and operational investment”.

A public meeting is being called in the town at the end of April to discuss the future of the local railway station which officially closed in 1976. This follows news that Limerick City and County Council has moved to place the property on the Derelict Sites Register.

A public notice, under the provisions of the Derelict Sites Act was posted on the property during the past week.

“There are no plans that we are currently aware of to reopen the station at Kilmallock and I note that, given the population density of the area, the business case will not yield a positive return for the necessary capital and operational investment,” stated Jim Meade, chief executive, Iarnrod Eireann-Irish Rail.

“However, Iarnród Éireann will ensure that no action is undertaken which would preclude any future reopening of the station, if funded by third parties and which meets the conditions, which apply to all rail infrastructure project proposals.”

Mr Meade was responding to a Dail question submitted by Fianna Fail’s Niall Collins which asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport “his plans for Kilmallock railway station; if he will consider reopening the station; and if he will make a statement on the matter”.

The question was sent to Mr Meade for response.

“It is important to point out at the outset that due to Iarnród Éireann’s financial position we are unfortunately not in a position to self-finance any capital infrastructure works (including new and reopened stations) from our own funds and that we are entirely dependent on third party funding via the National Transport Authority or Exchequer for any capital infrastructure works to the railway,” continued Mr Meade in his response.

“As a consequence, the delivery of any new rail infrastructure necessarily involves a multi-agency approach in the planning, design, funding and construction of a scheme. There are also strict government-enforced conditions in place surrounding the release of funds for capital infrastructure projects which must be adhered to by all agencies wishing to draw down public funds. These are set out under the Public Spending Code drawn up by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.”

A public notice, under the provisions of the Derelict Sites Act was posted by Limerick City and County Council on the property in the past week addressed to Irish Rail, Colbert Station, Limerick.

The notice says that representations can be made by the owner to the local authority in writing within one month of service of the notice.

Concerned local Peter Hennessy said plans are being put in place to host a meeting in the town in late April to discuss the future of the railway station property which he says is a listed building.

Trevor McCarthy who is the Social Democrats candidate for the area said there is lots of scope to develop the property.

“They say it is not financially viable etc and obviously it’s difficult but it’s a public service. The building itself can be renovated and reused for something like a co-working space or a small cafe because the mart is next door to it, so it is financially viable,” he said.

“You could have as a multi-purpose building. Knocklong have done a fabulous job there. From a visual optics perspective, it is a beautiful building.  I am fully aware that it needs to be financially viable. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with just making a decision based on the bottom line. From an environmental perspective as well, you take cars off the road so it is worth it if we are looking at the long term.  There could be a small museum as well. It is in the local area plan and has been for the last 10 years at least, to have it renovated and refurbished.”