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Irish Rail closure of container freight business crazy says Sinn Féin TD

26 July, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Seán Crowe has described as a "crazy" the decision of Iarnrod Éireann (Irish Rail) to stop carrying freight containers on the rail system. He said the decision sent out all the wrong signals and would further undermine efforts to reduce traffic on our road network.

Deputy Crowe said, "While the amount of freight containers currently using the rail system may be small in comparison to freight using the road network this decision by Iarnród Éireann is crazy and very much a retrograde step. It will undermine efforts to reduce traffic on our roads and will further compound the problems faced by many communities who suffer from congestion caused by trucks in small villages, towns and indeed cities throughout the island. We should be encouraging freight transporters to use the rail network not discouraging or preventing them.

"The rail network is a crucial piece of national infrastructure. It should not be looked at merely in terms of profit and loss on a particular aspect of the business. The Government has ultimate responsibility in this regard; it should be spearheading efforts to have the amount of freight transported by rail increased. It should be doing so by providing Iarnród Éireann with the resources it needs to provide that service without impacting on its passenger business. In terms of reduced pollution and reduced congestion the benefits to the community would far out way the costs involved.

"Iarnród Éireann is a state owned company and as such I would call on the Government to have this decision reversed and reversed immediately." ENDS

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