Varakar supportive of Foynes rail freight

In response to a question from Deputy Patrick O’Donovan ( FG, Limerick) Transport minister Leo Varadkar stated in the Dáil that:

I see the potential for enormous growth in Shannon Foynes in the coming years. It is a deep-water and bulk port, meaning it can carry much cargo. However, it will need the existing road upgraded or a new road connection. The railway to the port can be reopened if there is sufficient business to justify doing so. The key step on that point is to secure the European funding. I am working with the port company in achieving that.”

Deputy O’Donovan also asked Minister Varadkar if he would support the upgrade of the N69 road and the rail connection:

There has never been an opportunity before to see a port of this importance connected by rail into the national rail infrastructure. Will the Minister support efforts looking for investment in the port’s connectivity through public private partnerships and European institutions?

Which got the following response from the Minister:

I am enthusiastic about the reopening of the rail connection at the port and am open to considering any potential investors. The key point, however, that creates market concern is that it is not yet clear what cargo would run on the railway if it were reopened. No one wants to spend €10 million reopening a railway for it not to be used. There would need to be more certainty about what bulk would be going into and out of the port on the railway.”

All in all a positive development. The Foynes line is marked out as part of the European TEN-T network and the Minister seems to be favourable towards potential investors. We await further developments.

The full debate can be read at