Irish Rail operational revenues take 50% hit for 2020

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Irish Rail Operational Revenues Take 50% Hit For 2020
The rail operator's pre-tax surplus also decreased by 40 per cent.
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Gordon Deegan

Operational revenues at Irish Rail more than halved to €143.6 million last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic impact according to the 2020 annual report which shows the company recorded a pre-tax surplus of €2.47 million.

This represents a 40 per cent drop on the pre-tax surplus of €4.16 million for 2019.

However, the State owned rail operator only recorded the 2020 surplus after its State funding increased by 64 per cent from €230 million in 2019 to €378 million last year.

The rail company’s operational revenues declined by 52 per cent (€153.9 million), from €297.38 million to €143.67 million.

The accounts show that Irish Rail’s income from Public Service Obligation contracts increased by 128 per cent from €88.7 million to €202.34 million, while State Exchequer funding rose 23 per cent from €142.9 million to €176.12 million.

Journeys

Underscoring the Covid-19 impact on the company, the number of passenger journeys last year totalled 17.9 million - a 64 per cent fall from the record 50.1 million passenger journeys.

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A note attached to the accounts stated Irish Rail is to record a loss on its commercial business this year but predicted to return to profit next year under that heading.

The note addressing the Covid-19 impact stated there will be a significant shortfall in passenger revenue in 2021 which will require additional funding from the National Transport Authority (NTA) similar to that provided in 2020.

The note added: “It is anticipated that passenger journeys will recover somewhat in 2022 with continued support required from Exchequer funding to meet revenue shortfalls.”

Irish Rail generates its revenues from a number of streams - Rosslare Europort, infrastructure, freight, third party and rail revenues.

On the Covid-19 impact, Irish Rail’s rail revenues last year declined by 58 per cent from €248.22 million to €103.6 million.

Numbers employed by Irish Rail last year increased from 4,009 to 4.135 as gross staff costs increased from €280.74 million to €295.199 million.

Irish Rail last year received €14.59 million in the Government’s Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme, while the pay to chief executive, Jim Meade remained at the same level at €225,000. Pay to key management personnel increased from €1.97 million to €2.06 million.

The numbers earning €100,000 at Irish Rail last year increased from 87 to 100, which included 19 earning between €125,000-€150,000 and 14 earning over €150,000.

In his report, Mr Meade stated: "It must be stressed that the financial sustainability of the business in 2020, would not have been possible without the continued additional financial support from the NTA and the Department of Transport."

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