Yes or No to Metro North? Ignore RPA’s views (the clue is in their title)

28 October, 2010

Today’s Irish Times publishes a letter from Tom Manning, who is Public Relations Manager, Metro North Project Director, in the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA).  He is (surprise, surprise) strongly defending the merits of the Metro North project against those who claim we cannot afford it and against those who see it as a vanity project which will not produce an economic return. 

This was on the day that the multi-billion-euro project in Dublin was given the green light by An Bord Pleanála.

So turkeys do not vote for Christmas.

As Kevin Myers recently pointed out, Metro North “is the brainchild of the Railway Procurement  [my emphasis] Agency, not the Railway Assessment Agency, which would, of course, assess things for a living, and would still have a job regardless of the outcome.   The Railway Procurement Agency does exactly what it says on the tin. It would be procuring railways to connect with rainbows, regardless, just like the Druids of Easter Island were ordering more statues even as the last of the island’s trees were being felled.”

The Railway Procurement Agency, insofar as their title means anything, exists to procure railways and things that railways need.  If we stopped needing to procure new railways, presumably the RPA would cease to be a required institution, and its employees and managers would be made redundant.  So we should not be surprised that Mr Manning and all his colleagues are very much in favour of pressing ahead with Metro North.

But I would like to see an up-to-date (and truly independent) assessment of the value of Metro North, based on current borrowing costs and Government expenditure priorities.  After all, Metro North will run through Bertie Ahern’s constituency; that alone should be enough cause for the average citizen to become suspicious of its real merits.


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