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West=On=Track - News

Bertie puts the West back on track

Western People - 9th March 2005

by Michael Commins

The announcement by An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern in the Dáil on Thursday that financial provision has been made by the Government for the re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor has been greeted with elation by members of the West on Track Community Campaign.

Speaking during Taoiseach's question time, in response to questions from Enda Kenny and Pat Rabbitte, Mr Ahern said: "We have been supportive of this all the way through. The report is to identify how it can best be achieved.

"The finances for it are already with the Department and, from presentations we have received, I know it will be part of the ten-year rail plan. Therefore, provision has already been made for it."

The Taoiseach's comments are seen as the clearest indication yet that the entire Western Rail Corridor is truly "back on track" and that the line from Ennis to Colloney will be back in the national railway "grid" within a few years. Members of the hard-working committee who have pioneered the re-opening of the corridor now believe it will be all good news "down the line".

A spokesman for West on Track warmly has welcomed the remarks by An Taoiseach. "This is a very significant day for the whole of the West of Ireland. The Taoiseach's announcement represents a clear expression by the Government of its intent to deliver on the vision outlined in the National Spatial Strategy.

"The Western Rail Corridor will join together all the cities of the West and South, from Sligo to Cork and Waterford, and genuinely create the conditions for balanced regional development," he said.

As well as serving the transport and commercial needs of the people of the whole region the re-opening of the WRC will represent an essential front-loading of infrastructure leading to the accelerated economic development of the whole West and Mid-West region.

"We compliment the Taoiseach and his Ministers for their positive response to the well-documented needs of this region.

"The re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor must be seen as a single regional development project delivering much-needed infrastructure through the whole region.

"As the Taoiseach noted in his Dáil statement, we now await the report of the expert Working Group under the chairmanship of Mr. Pat McCann, which we are confident will provide a dynamic blueprint for the re-opening of this valuable piece of Ireland's national infrastructure," said the spokesperson.








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