Brennan Keeps West Rail
Corridor Dream Alive
TRANSPORT Minister, Seamus Brennan, said that as a
Government Minister and "a West of Ireland man", he was
strongly of the view that it was vitally important to
develop the West coast as a counter-balance to the
significant development all along the East coast. He said a
central and strategic element of this would be a modern,
efficient and viable rail network.
The Minister made his comments when he announced that the
consultants who drew up the recently-published Strategic
Rail Review would now work with regional authorities and
other interest groups to develop a realistic and viable plan
for the proposed Western Rail Corridor. He said his
department would fund the involvement of the consultants,
Booz, Allen and Hamilton, in putting together in
consultation with the proposers a detailed plan for the
proposed rail infrastructure.
"A most important element of this, particularly
in the light of the recommendations of the National
Spatial Strategy is a viable rail network.
Right now the proposed Western Rail Corridor is not a
viable proposition. However, I do not want to see that
dream, that vision die. Instead, I want to work closely
with those committed to work up a detailed and realistic
action plan. This is not another consultant's report, but
an honest effort to ask the hard questions and establish
how the figures stack up."
Minister Brennan said that while the overall plan for the
project was not at present viable, in the short term there
were aspects of it, such as commuter services to the main
cities and towns, that could have potential. It was also
intended to explore developing the proposed route in
Speaking at a Western Rail Network conference in
Claremorris, organised by the Western Development
Commission, the Secretary of the Western Inter-County Rail
Committee, Fr. Micheál McGréil, welcomed the
positive attitude of Minister Brennan.
"The State may be more appreciative of the
socio-economic value of our project than the authors of
the Strategic Rail Review and some serious media
correspondents," he said.
Fr. McGréil said that over the past 24 years his
committee had kept faith in the West of Ireland as a
worthwhile network of communities deserving a greater share
of developmental resources which would result in a better
infrastructure to sustain a good quality of life for all its
citizens and provide an excellent destination for visitors
from elsewhere in Ireland and from abroad.
He told delegates to the Claremorris conference:
"This conference could be an important stage in
the upgrading of our campaign. We have done our homework.
We now need results. We have the people with us. The
Western Development Commission should now work in harmony
with the board of the BMW region to make this project a
reality. I am appealing to all parties who have supported
the project up to now to continue that support into the
future. Together we can make it happen."