TWO intercity rail lines cut through south and east Limerick but you can only get on board in Cork or Tipperary, said Cllr Lisa Marie Sheehy, who has called for Kilmallock station to be re-opened.
The independent councillor put down a motion at a Cappamore-Kilmallock municipal area meeting to invite Irish Rail to discuss the proposal. Cllr Sheehy said it closed in 1976 but there are 25 to 30 trains passing daily.
“If even one or two stopped a day it would not just benefit Kilmallock but the whole Ballyhoura region and south Limerick. We have to go into the city or outside of the county to Limerick Junction or Charleville to get a train. It is an ideal location in Kilmallock with plenty of parking and the mart beside it,” said Cllr Sheehy, who got all her council colleagues on board.
She said she wasn’t asking anyone to build a railway station, just “simply stop there”.
“Let’s get the ball rolling. Let’s talk to Irish Rail. Does the council have an interest? It is falling apart. It is a protected structure which means don’t touch it, let it fall away… Let’s invest in it and have even one or two trains stopping a day. It is important for tourism, business and our heritage. Let’s start the discussion,” said Cllr Sheehy.
Cllr Mike Donegan said 40kms of rail goes through south east Limerick.
“It’s a disgrace you have to go to Tipperary or Cork at Limerick city to get the train. One hundred years ago when Kilmallock was thriving the train station was as important to the town as Shannon Airport is to Limerick city. Reopening the train station would help attract businesses and bring footfall,” said Cllr Donegan, who added that he was very disappointed that “the footbridge of a protected structure was taken away overnight”.
Cllr Bill O’Donnell backed the motion but said that Knocklong or Rosstemple in Athlacca might have a better chance due to Kilmallock’s close proximity to Charleville.
“It is disappointing that there is all that length of track through the county and no stop. It doesn’t have to be 10 or 12 carriages. Why not one or two trains a day with four carriages,” asked Cllr O’Donnell.
A couple of years ago, Cllr Eddie Ryan said it stopped in Knocklong to take supporters to a Limerick GAA match in Cork.
“It was five deep on the platform. I don’t care how close Charleville is to Kilmallock there is 40kms of line in our county. We are protecting a very historic spot. It is the right time to fight for it,” said Cllr Ryan.
Cllr Noel Gleeson gave it his “full support”. “It is taking people off the roads and in a very safe manner. It is a pity to see infrastructure lie idle,” he said.
Cllr Brigid Teefy agreed it would help keep cars off the roads and mooted reopening Dromkeen in east Limeick. Cllr Gerald Mitchell said it was an essential service in rural Ireland. “It doesn’t make sense to travel to Tipperary or Cork,” he said.