CONFLICTING statements have cast doubt on the development of a new railway station and transport hub for Waterford city.
Several local politicians had signalled that the Government was willing to fund the project which is crucial to the North Quays development. But the mood of optimism was dampened by a spokesperson for the Department of Local Government who said bluntly: “No decisions have been made.”
The minister, Eoghan Murphy, then distanced himself from the funding pledge. He told RTE that the Government was committed to the project but must ensure “the funding lines are in place”. The conflict appears to have arisen from the involvement of three separate government departments.
Independent TD and Minister of State John Halligan confirmed that negotiations have been taking place with the departments of Transport and Finance. But TDs have also been meeting Mr Murphy.
Eoghan Murphy said his Department will fund the full allocation which is €39 million
Sinn Féin deputy David Cullinane told WLR: “Eoghan Murphy said his Department will fund the full allocation which is €39 million. It’s great news for Waterford.”
Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler Tweeted that there had been “positive news” from Mr Murphy.
Mr Halligan said negotiations were still taking place with the departments of Transport and Finance but it had “now been confirmed” that the money would be made available for the new train station, adding that this was a big step towards the development of the North Quays.
The new transport hub is a key element in the plan by a Saudi Arabian-based development company for a commercial, retail and residential project linking the North Quays and the city centre. It involves moving the existing rail station along the quay to link it with the bus service and put it at the heart of the regeneration development.
North Quays will be a game changer for Waterford
Following Mr Cullinane’s interview on WLR, Waterford Chamber issued a statement welcoming the funding.
Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley, said: “We have had many assurances from Government that they are committed to the North Quays since it was designated an SDZ. However, now we are starting to hear some real figures, which is certainly encouraging.
“There is no denying the North Quays will be a game changer for Waterford but an essential component of that was the re-location of Plunkett Station.
“With the multi annual investment from the Urban Regeneration Fund and now the commitment to the train station, we can remain confident of delivery.”