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Brennan Keeps West Rail Corridor Dream Alive

Mayo News

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 stages.

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."








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