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.