By Dan Walsh
The Government Report ‘Covid-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021; The Path Ahead’, published by the Government earlier this week came before Seanad Éireann today (Friday) with the Minister for Transport, Eamonn Ryan TD, presenting an address and gauging reaction from the members.
Wexford’s Senator Malcolm Byrne asked for a commitment that Rosslare Europort be classified as a Tier One port.
Senator Byrne said; “With the twin whammies of Covid and Brexit we have seen our ports come under a lot of pressure, but Rosslare Europort has started to boom at last. I want to hear a commitment that we will move towards classifying Rosslare Europort as a Tier One port and that it will get the necessary investment to allow it to continue to expand. Year on year, from January of last year to January of this year, the amount of freight passing through Rosslare increased by over 440%. Critical to that, and I ask the Minister this in the context of the review of the national development plan that is happening now, is the completion of the M11 motorway from Oylegate to Rosslare.
“A previous Senator was right in saying that motorways make sense from an environmental point of view. We are now seeing trucks and lorries clogging up villages like Oylegate, Kilrane and Rosslare. It is adding time for our hauliers travelling to Rosslare and disturbing the quality of life in those villages. That as a priority within the national development plan is critical.
“In terms of the development of the railways, I would also make the case for the much underutilised Rosslare to Dublin railway. Part of the problem is that once one gets to Bray, as the Minister knows, the main interurban trains must sit behind the DART. That delays trains and it remains a problem.”
Minister Ryan acknowledged the contributions of several speakers. He recalled; “Senator Byrne asked about Rosslare and to my mind that should be radically enhanced. I spoke about it in the Dáil yesterday again. We will have to invest in better road access to the port. It can also be a significant part of developing our offshore wind industry. The recent revival and growth in Rosslare Europort are only the start.