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Report Delay The IÉ annual accounts for the year ended 2011 were published on 14 November. The delay in publishing all of the CIÉ Group accounts was attributed to uncertainty of future financing and viability of the Group and its constituent companies. CIÉ said its Board needed “additional time to assure themselves that appropriate plans for the long-term financial sustainability and funding is in place for the company".

In July 2012, the Government promised an additional 36m to CIÉ (See Journal 179), but this was subsequently temporarily withdrawn until the Government was satisfied with the level of further savings from the companies. The Minister for Transport Dr Leo Varadkar TD said "At present, the Government is exploring alternative ways to make up the shortfall - other than exchequer funding including the sale of non-core assets and new credit facilities". He said the 36m would not be paid until a deal was secured with unions on changes to work practices, the sale of non-core assets went through and new lines of bank credit secured. "There's been very little progress on many of those fronts… I can't, in clear conscience, hand over additional taxpayers' money until the companies and unions do their bit, too. We need to have agreements from the bus unions - the rail unions have already agreed to a deal. The 36m in additional subvention is still available but while it might solve the problem for this year, it might not solve the problem for next year. I can't have the companies coming back every three months looking for more." He also said “I will not have enough money next year, and 36m will not solve the problems of the company next year”.

State subvention to the CIÉ Group has been reduced by more than 60m since 2008, with further cuts planned in coming years. The company has made savings of 175m in the same period.

IÉ Report Summary The report stated “2011 was another challenging year for Iarnród Éireann, with reduced domestic economic activity impacting directly on customer demand, albeit that the rate of decline slowed over previous years. Revenue at 185.8m is down 2.3% on last year culminating in a loss for the year of 21.9m compared to a loss of 36m last year with savings in payroll costs of 30.7m, 19.4m of this being savings in voluntary severance payments.”

“In total, there were 37.4m passenger journeys across IÉ’s passenger businesses in 2011, a 2% reduction from the 2010 figure of 38.2m. There was growth on some routes, with the DART and commuter business recording increases, helped by an increasing number of entertainment and sporting events. Revenues have fallen in line with passenger journeys. Subvention for Public Service Obligation (PSO) services was reduced by 6.5m or 4.2% during 2011. Fuel costs have risen by 1.7m or 6.3%. The freight business generated a surplus, boosted by the introduction of new container traffic which saw volumes increase by 13% [12m tonne-km] in 2011.”

The report details many safety, infrastructure, operational, rolling stock and project issues already reported in this Journal and these are not repeated here. Further extracts from the IÉ report are noted below:

Financial Results 2011 “The final year end results for passenger revenue saw the DART business 1.5% above budget for 2011, but 1.5% below the total for 2010. The InterCity and Commuter business revenue for the year was 0.6% above budget, but 4.2% below 2010. However revenue in periods 12 and 13 in 2010 was inflated by the severe weather last year which increased rail volumes significantly due to treacherous road conditions. Overall in 2011 total passenger journeys were circa 2.1% below 2010. The overall net loss for 2011 was in line with the final forecast at 17.8m (before exceptional items) and 20.9m after exceptional items were taken into account.”

The report noted figures “for the 5-year period 2007 to 2011 clearly show how the income reductions from revenue and subvention have been tackled with the headcount and cost reduction programmes



In September 2012, the Comptroller and Auditor General reported on expenditure to date on various PPP projects that have been postponed. For rail projects it reported:

“Figure 6.6 Expenditure on Cancelled Public Transport Projects to end December 2011 - Amounts in 000s:      

Expenditure category

Metro North

Dart Underground

Metro West

Property acquisition




Design & PPP procurement




Enabling works




Legal, financial, commercial and insurance advisors




Railway order application / preparation




Oral hearing




Other/ overheads








Source: Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport”

“6.39. In the case of Metro North, 13 properties were purchased by the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) and these properties continue to be held by them. The costs of these properties, including advice and other property related costs, amount to 25.7m. No lands were purchased in the case of Dart Underground and Metro North.”

“6.40. As part of the PPP tender competition for Metro North, it was agreed to compensate the under-bidders for their verifiable tendering costs up to a maximum of 1m each in the event of the PPP procurement process being deferred. The RPA have paid one of the bidders 1m in compensation and it is awaiting further information to support the compensation claim of 1m from the other.”


Rosslare Europort is unique among the state commercial ports as it operates outside of the 1996-2009 Harbours Acts because of its origins in the Fishguard & Rosslare Railways & Harbours Company. In terms of total tonnage handled, Rosslare is the fourth largest port in the country. It handles 14% of all roll-on roll-off freight in the state. Total tonnage volumes have grown by approximately 29% since 1998. It is the second biggest for passenger traffic after Dublin and in 2011 handled 906,000 passenger movements.

The Department of Transport has engaged Indecon Consultants to provide a strategic review of the current and future role of the port. The terms of reference ask Indecon to consider enhanced private sector involvement in the port or "divestment by IÉ of its interest in the holding company to a private sector concern", the possibility of the port maintaining its current status, the establishment of an independent port company inside or outside the CIÉ group, or a merger with an existing port company. Joint ventures involving commercial bodies, local or regional authorities are also to be considered.

The port's financial contribution towards and relationship with IÉ, as well as the legislative and operational framework in which the port operates, will also be examined. Indecon will report on cost implications, as well as implications of any change in ownership or operational structure at Rosslare on IÉ. This will include an analysis of the railway lines between Rosslare, Wexford and Waterford.


The Minister for Transport Dr Leo Varadkar TD was interviewed by The Irish Times in December. He said more than 200m had been spent advancing Metro North, Metro West and DART Underground all of which he had shelved. "I don't think that was money well-spent, but it's not all lost because I do think that DART Underground will happen someday. In the case of Metro North, even if I had 3 billion or 4 billion, would you spend it that way? You'd get a lot of roads and public transport for that. Like a lot of things at the time, it was based on projections that the economy would grow fast forever, and there were plans to have 120,000 people in Swords, etc."

He conceded that railway revenues had fallen due to competition from the motorways, but there was no money to improve rail journey times, which are among the slowest in Europe. He said the Western Rail Corridor was not even going to be extended to Tuam, but the relatively new Ennis-Athenry link was not losing as much as other rail services such as Limerick Junction-Waterford and Manulla Junction-Ballina and these were being looked at by "number-crunchers".

The remainder of this article appears in IRRS Journal number 180, published February 2013

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