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A Taoiseach on track with public thinking

Connaught Telegraph Editorial - 9th March 2005

It's not very often that we have had occasion to publicly commend Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for his foresight into the provision of demanding infrastructural needs of the West of Ireland. But this week we salute Mr. Ahem for his commitment, in the Dáil, towards the re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor.

Mr. Ahern, went on record, when questioned by party leaders, Enda Kenny and Pat Rabbitte, and stated that funding for the project "is already with the Department.''

In essence this means that the rail corridor train Sligo to Limerick will in time be brought back into use.

This is a tremendous commitment by An Taoiseach and one which is warmly welcomed by every man, woman and child in the West of Ireland.

This cannot be seen as a political stroke. No. It is a vote of confidence in the future development of the West and is in keeping with the demands of all of us, who live, work and rear our families in this part of the country.

The community backed campaign by the West-On-Track committee for the re-opening of the rail lines caught the imagination of all as a worthwhile project that would bring balanced regional development to the West.

At a time when gridlock is the order of the day along the East coast, it is reassuring to think that the re-opening of the abandoned rail network, will ensure that such a crisis will not visit us.

Third level students too, will be able with ease to catch a train from any part of this region for universities or regional colleges in SIigo, Castlebar, Galway or Limerick.

It is important to stress that the re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor is seen as a single development project.

It is vital that it is completed in its entirety. Otherwise the region as a whole will not benefit.

There may be some opposition in the Department of Transport to the plan. But the unequivocal backing of the Taoiseach to the project mirrors the public support and demand there is for the rail corridor.

We must now await a report of the expert working-group, under the chairmanship of Mr. Pat McCann before the project can proceed to the next stage.

I have no doubt but that the provision of this piece of vital infrastructure will stand as a lasting memorial to Mr. Ahern, who has the foresight to see how such a rail link will transform the West.








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