Criticism of Dublin Port decision to suspend freight service from Mayo

The decision by Dublin Port to suspend the rail freight service from Ballina has been heavily criticised by local councillors.

“This is really giving us the last thump to the face,” said Councillor John O'Hara at the June monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District today when the matter came up for discussion.

It was raised by Councillor Annie May Reape, who said the decision didn't make sense, especially in the context of a road – the N26 – that isn't capable to taking freight anyway.

“It's a totally retrograde step for Ballina once again,” she stated as she requested Ballina MD to send a strongly worded letter to the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, and Dublin Port seeking a reversal of the decision.

With a route opening up shortly to Waterford, which should help grow Ballina in terms of freight, this is indeed a retrograde step, agreed Councillor Mark Duffy.

Councillor John O'Hara wondered who would want to place a factory in the area now with this decision, while his Fine Gael colleague Councillor Jarlath Munnelly said the matter was solvable but pressure had to be put on to reverse it.

The director of services for the area, Tom Gilligan, said he was 'very disappointed and shocked' when he heard news of the decision, which didn't just affect Ballina but the whole of the county. He suggested it as something for discussion at the next Roads & Transportation SPC meeting.