Catherine Coffey, Workers’ Party candidate for Cork City North West said that there was no faith in the present government’s ability to deliver a light rail service to Cork city when it cannot provide adequate numbers of modern vehicles for the existing bus service.
Ms. Coffey pointed out that the idea of a light-rail system for Cork had been floating around since the 1980s and had been a firm proposal since the review of the Land Use and Transportation Survey in 1992. Light rail would be an asset to the city but the present government was incapable for dealing with the major crises around housing and health.
She said: “The Fine Gael government, backed by complaining but spineless Fianna Fáil is bogged down in a whole load of current projects with soaring cost overruns and no possibility of achieving most of the projects in quetion. Announcing light rail for Cork less than a fortnight before local and European elections can only regarded as a stunt”.
“Despite this hype about light rail for Cork the current reality is that the city’s bus services are largely based on the same network outline as the old tramways which were closed in 1931. The government is more interested in privatising the service than modernising it and it is likely they would also hand the running of a light rail over to a private company just as they did in Dubin, if it ever sees the light of day” said Catherine Coffey.
The Workers Party said that a real commitment to expanding Cork’s existing bus network and providing adequate numbers of suitable new vehicles was essential. “Bus Éireann have the expertise to do this if only given the proper funding and a clear public service mandate free from the privatisation agenda”.