Western Rail Corridor
- a key priority for Fine Gael
Fine Gael Statement at official launch of
Transport Minister Seamus Brennan should immediately
review the Strategic Rail Review (SRR) Report with a view to
reopening the Western Rail Corridor, Fine Gael transport
spokesperson Denis Naughten TD said today (Wednesday).
Speaking after the launch of the 'West on Track' campaign
in Athenry, Co. Galway this evening, Deputy Naughten said
'getting this line re-opened in the immediate future is a
priority for Fine Gael, and we intend to pursue the Minister
on this key infrastructural development'.
"Although the SRR report is supposed to adhere to the
National Spatial Strategy, nearly all of its recommendations
concern Dublin projects. Little or no thought has gone into
the role our national rail system can play in promoting
decentralisation or the National Spatial Strategy.
"But if the rail system was properly managed, it would
boost economic growth in rural Ireland, and help alleviate
the pressures on our capital.
"Fine Gael believes the Western Rail Corridor should be
used to stimulate development in this area, rather than
follow development into the area. But the typical Government
response is to wait until development nodes and growth areas
along the Western Corridor have become established before it
will even consider the rail link.
"If the Minister for Transport is serious about
decentralisation and the balanced regional development
outlined in the Spatial Strategy, he must kick start the
process by providing the investment.
The key steps, which must be immediately taken by the
Minister for Transport, are:
- Invest in the western rail line to make the line
viable (a key objective of EU transport policy)
- Develop commuter services to Sligo, Galway &
Limerick and the Mayo Link between Ballina, Castlebar
- Expand the network to include Knock and Shannon
Airports, ensuring their future viability following the
Government's decision to abandon the Shannon
- Immediately use Arrow type railcars on the Western
- Use tax credits to encourage commuters to use the
public transport system
- Provide timetables that will allow an interconnection
service in the region
- Provide a bus shuttle service at all depots to take
passengers to and from rail stations
- Introduce a structured subsidy to encourage the use
of rail freight, which will ease the pressure on the
region's sub-standard road network.
"A vibrant region in the modern age needs a proper road
and rail infrastructure to attract and compete at the top
level, and to encourage employment and investment to its
area. A trade-off of one in favour of the other is not an
option, even in this time of economic uncertainty."