The Government has taken a decision not to seek an extension of Ireland’s derogation under EU legislation dealing with rail market access. The derogation will expire on March 14th 2013.
Following today’s Cabinet meeting, Minister Varadkar announced plans for a consultation process which will consider how best to restructure Irish Rail in light of this decision.
There will be a requirement to establish a separate body to determine charges for access to the railway system, and how capacity should be allocated.
The Minister sees this as an opportunity to encourage greater efficiency and transparency in the rail sector.
The consultation process will be wide-ranging, including Government partners and other stakeholders such as Iarnród Éireann.
“Ireland is the only country in the EU which has been allowed to retain a single operator which regulates, operates and maintains its mainline rail network.
“European law supports greater competition and freer access to the rail network sector across Europe, principally in the area of freight. I would like Ireland to be well prepared to avail of any such opportunities in future.”
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Press Office: 01 6041076 / 01 6041090
Nick Miller 086 6992080