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The End of the Line

Letter to the Sunday Business Post - 9th January 2005


Constantin Gurdgiev, in a wide-ranging comment and analysis of Government spending (SBP 02/01/05), is out of order when he describes the Western Rail Corridor as being "economically indefensible". Such a glib, unsupported statement is the kind of thing I thought had ended with the dismal forecasts from similar quarters regarding Knock International Airport some years ago. Does Mr Gurdgiev know that independent analysis by specialists in public transportation suggests passenger figures above the average for some of our existing main-line routes?

Does he accept that, at present, demand exists within industry for four fully-laden freight trains between the west of Ireland and Waterford Port on a daily basis?

Mr Gurdgiev will be aware that Séamus Brennan, as minister for transport, did not accept the Booz Allen Hamilton Strategic Rail Review, insofar as it assessed the Western Rail Corridor.

Is it not a fact that adequate transport infrastructure, including rail, is a vital component in an economy pursuing balanced regional development?

Mr Gurdgiev refers to the Enterprise Strategy Group Report. Is it not a fact that this report referred to the need for accelerated investment in transport infrastructure in the west of Ireland?

Incidentally, he fails to mention the disgraceful underspend of NDP funds provided for public transport in the Border, Midlands and West regions.

Constantin Gurdgiev is a lecturer in economics at Trinity College. I invite him to come out from the sheltered cloisters of Trinity College and study this underspend at maybe some of the third-level centres of excellence in Letterkenny, Sligo, Galway or Limerick - all places convenient to the Western Rail Corridor.

Michael McGreal, MCC, Chairman, Western Inter-County Rail Committee.








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