Bertie puts the West back
Western People - 9th March
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
"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