On 14th November, 2018, the 8 Kildare Oireachtas Reps met with the National Transport Authority to discuss public transport services for County Kildare.
The key points, with responses, that I raised are as follows:
1) Capacity on Trains: I said there was nowhere near enough capacity on trains, that trains serving Sallins and Hazelhatch were full before even arriving at station many mornings, that additional carriages were badly needed. I also said that the LUAS was full when trains arrived into Heuston at peak morning times and that a shuttle service LUAS should be ran from Heuston into city centre at peak times.
RESPONSE: NTA agreed to restore the LUAS shuttle service from Heuston into city centre at peak times. They said procuring additional carriages is very difficult for many reasons. International procurement is more difficult with Brexit. Irish trains are on a different guage to other countries. Older trains cost almost as much to refurbish as it does to buy new ones. They hope to place an order for additional carriages from UK and make the necessary modifications; this may take 12-18 months but they are working on it. They also suggested some plans to try stagger peak loads over a longer window (6-10) so as to spread demand across those times.
2) Sallins Rail Station Carpark: I pointed out the severe pressure on Sallins carpark in mornings at present and the near impossibility of getting a space after 7.30am. Project underway to provide additional 270 spaces but has to go through planning permission and possible zoning change of parish lands.
RESPONSE: Works are as per initial schedule however and planning, design and build should be complete by end of next year with extra parking provided onstream in 2020.
3) Extra rail services from city centre (Pearse/Tara/Grand Canal Dock) to Hazelhatch and Sallins in the evenings to be rolled out next month. Draft timetable in consultation. I said the new evening trains were welcome but the need to change train at Hazelhatch on the way back and the delays involved were unacceptable.
RESPONSE: NTA agreed to see could they run more direct evening trains to Sallins through tunnel and/or could change waiting times be better aligned.
4) Kilcock train timetable: I said the station was hindered by the last train home leaving town approximately 7pm. Far more people would use it if could get home later.
RESPONSE: NTA agreed to consider as part of current timetable review.
5) Feeder Bus Network: I said much of the parking constraints at stations could be helped if the feeder bus system was expanded, e.g. from Clane to Sallins, Straffan to Hazelhatch on top of existing feeder bus routes.
RESPONSE: NTA will examine options on this in the medium-long term.
6) Bus Connects: I asked where the project was at following the consultation and public meetings during summer months.
RESPONSE: NTA are examining all feedback and hope to produce revised network proposals by Q2, 2019.
7) 139 Bus Service: I said the new bus service was very welcome but it made no sense that people could not get on and off between Naas-Sallins-Clane.
RESPONSE: NTA will consult with provider (JJ Kavanagh) with a view to improving both 139 and rapid town link and provide greater flexibility of options.
I have increased pressure on the new Minister for Education to ensure the tendering process is progressed quickly for the new school build in Millennium Park, Naas. I have asked the Minister to detail the construction timeline for Naas Community College. You can read his reponse here.
It was important to put the new Minister for Education on notice. This is a vital piece of infrastructure for Naas and the wider area. Anymore delays are completely unacceptable. I asked the Minister to detail a timeline for the build.
We need to move to find a tender so construction can be built. This is the next step. I will continue to work with the school, parents, and lobby the Minister and his Department to ensure the project moves to the next stage without delay.
It is welcomed that progress on the greenway proposed for the Grand Canal has been made. The greenway will go from Spencer Dock and includes the Kildare portion of the route including Hazelhatch and Sallins.
This project is something I first raised at council level while serving on Kildare County Council. Since then I have repeatedly brought this up in the Dáil. I have also set up an action committee consisting of Cllr. Ed O’Brien from Dublin, Cllr. Carmel Kelly from Sallins and Tidy Towns volunteers from Naas and Hazelhatch. This committee has worked hard to put the spot light on this on project.
There is massive potential for a growth in tourism for Celbridge, and the Sallins and Naas areas when the greenway is developed. Continue Reading →
Additional funding allocated to the tourism sector must be targeted to support areas of the industry potentially affected by the increase in the VAT rate in Budget 19.
This increase in VAT will be devastating to those small hoteliers in Kildare. Places like Leixlip, Naas, and Johnstownbridge all have fantastically successful hotels who will see a significant increase in their tax bill. However, unlikely the surge in booked up hotel rooms in Dublin this has not extended to Kildare at the same level. The increase in VAT for hotels across the country is unwise. Continue Reading →
270 new car park spaces are incoming for a significant extension of the car park at Sallins and Naas train station. The new car park will be located on the Sallins side of the tracks in what is known locally as the parish field.
The extension is badly needed and something I have been seeking for years including many debates with the Minister for Transport. The extension became all the more urgent after I secured an extension of the leap card zone to Sallins along with the Phoenix park tunnel allowing services direct to city centre. These improvements saw a massive increase in usage of the station. A much better service but much greater demand as a result. Continue Reading →