Contents of Monasterevin Railway Transport Report

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Foreword To Monasterevin Railway Transport Report 1999
Background To The Study Area
Survey opf Transport needs in Monasterevin
Conclusions
Selsction of Images and Maps



In this page we will outline the background to current public transport policy in Ireland. We will refer to various policy documents which have been published over the past number of years, ranging from European to locally based reports. We will identify the particular challenges faced by isolated rural communities, such as Monasterevin in forging their place in our ever expanding and increasingly centralised economy.

2.1 EUROPEAN UNION

In 1995 the E.U. published a discussion document entitled "The Citizens Network; Fulfilling The Potential Of Public Passengers Transport In Europe". This document states that effective passenger transport systems are essential for Europe's economies and for the quality of life of  European citizens. It highlights the aspiration that;

Public transport should ideally be a service open to all citizens in terms of accessibility to vehicles and infrastructure,  affordability in terms of fare levels and availability in terms of coverage of services".

In a 1998 council directive to the Commission of the European Communities it was stated that a renewed railway sector is vital for the future of Europe's transport system. EU policy is geared toward the greater use of rail travel, which has the capacity to be the most efficient, safest and environmentally friendly mode of transport. The E.U. therefore encourages passengers to use rail transport rather than the private motorcar, therefore reducing congestion, pollution and the level of road accidents.  It is ironic, therefore, that while the Irish section of the Trans-European Rail Network, established as part of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, passes through Monasterevin is of no benefit to our community as the station is closed and derelict.

2.2 NATIONAL

The central role of mobility to the development of rural areas was highlighted in a recent report entitled "Rural Ireland Waiting For a Life". In this paper a strong correlation is drawn between transport and economic development. Indeed, the author concludes that improved transport is a pre-requisite for modern development, (Kenny 1997). It has been noted that one of the main challenges facing rural communities seeking to improve access to and from their areas, is a lack of coherent government policy covering rural transport. The Transport Research Institude in UCD (June 1996), the NESC Report (1994) and the position paper of the Department of Transport, Energy and Communication (1996) have pointed this out.

The government published "Operational Programme 1994/1999 for Transport" proposing an integrated package of investment in transport, including a substanial proportion for railways (IR 275 Million, over 10%). The document acknowledges that the internal transport system is underdeveloped, generally of poor quality and requires investment. One of the stated aims of this programme is:

"…To promote economic and social cohesion by improving accessibility for both passengers and goods… to and from peripheral, disadvantaged and border areas…".

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Entrance To Platform 2!!


2.3 REGIONAL

The population drain from rural Ireland, evident over the past number of decades has not only put the transport infrastructure in the Dublin City area under strain, it has also impacted similarly on the surrounding counties including Kildare. The Mid-East Regional Report outlines the needs and development requirements of the Mid East Region, the provisions and co-ordination of the constituent development plans and the inter-relationship of the region with Dublin. It suggests that there should be increased emphasis on public transport and raises the possibility of modal linear development along the rail lines. It is a stated objective of the Dublin Transport Initiative to achieve coherence with development plans including these of the outlying areas of Countries Kildare, Meath and Wicklow. It is also government policy, and indeed, that of all the main political parties, to encourage commuters and others away from the use of the car and onto public transport, particularly rail.

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Platform 1 1999!!


2.4 COUNTY KILDARE

Kildare County Council has produced a Development Plan for the period up to 2003. County Kildare is now the fastest growing county in Ireland and much of it can be regarded as functionally related to Dublin. Increased house prices there and the improvements to the road, bus and rail network have resulted in the spread of population outward from Dublin. This spread is now reaching Monasterevan and will inevitibly increase over the coming years. Kildare County Councils policy is to promote and encourage the spread of development throughout the county. This will involve growth in the towns in the south and central areas, and defines a target population for Monasterevin by 2006 at 3,500 people (similar to that of Kilcock). This will create a balance within the county and discourage the over-development now being experienced in the North East, where local communities are being overwhelmed by new housing developments. The Council intends to have the M7 motorway, by-passing Monasterevin, completed by the year 2004, and the upgrading of the sewage and water facilities in the town are imminent.

It is the policy of the Council; "... to support and promote the use of public rail transportation, especially to deal with commuter traffic to the Dublin area and to facilitate the development of improved services…" The County Council also has a stated objective that: "…commuter stations should be opened in Kilcock and Monasterevin, to service these towns…" It is worth noting that Kilcock, with a population of 1,825 in 1996, had its station re-opened in November 1998. While Monasterevin with 2,302 citizens in the same year, had a platform removed from its railway station.

IN SUMMARY

In this section we have demonstrated that there is both a comprehensive and compelling argument being made from a wide range of sources, encouraging the use of public transport and that a good public transport network has social and environmental benefits as well as being a pre-requiste for economic growth. We have explored the nature of the population changes in recent years, and the pressure that this has put on the transport infrastructure in both Dublin and surrounding counties. With this in mind and it's inevitable continuation into the coming millennium, we reviewed the Kildare county development plan which identifies Monasterevin as a commuter town to Dublin and explicitly calls for the re-opening of the railway station.

These arguments, we conclude, speak for themselves and clearly indicate that the continued closure of the railway station in Monasterevin is having a negative impact not only on the town, but the county and region as a whole.

 

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