West=On=Track Community Campaign Launched
More than 100 people from communities across the west
attended the launch of the West on Track community campaign
aimed at re-opening the Western Rail Corridor which took
place in the Teagasc Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway on
Wednesday night last.
Committees have been set up in almost 50 centres across
the west and more are being formed.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. John Joe Conwell, Chairman
of the Galway community forum and was attended by many
public representatives, including Mr. Denis Naughten, fine
Gael Spokesman on Transport.
Welcoming those present, Mr. Conwell, who is also a
member of the Steering committee of West on Track, pointed
out that Athenry had been chosen for the launch of this
campaign because of its pivotal position as a rail junction
and as a response to the unilateral severance of the Western
Rail Corridor by Iarnród Éireann at Athenry
A specially recorded message from Fr.
Mícheál MacGréil S.J, chairman of the
Inter-County Rail Committee and patron of West on Track was
shown and featured Fr. MacGréil officially launching
the campaign with a green flag at Claremorris station, the
other main junction on the line.
Mr Frank Dawson, a senior official of Galway Co Council
made a presentation on the current state of the WRC and
outlined his vision of how it could be re-opened at far less
cost than mentioned in the discredited Strategic Rail
Review. Mr. Dawson also presented sample timetables for all
stations on the line and showed how local commuter services
in Galway, Sligo and Mayo would be seamlessly incorporated
into the plan.
Professor Séamus Caulfield also addressed the
meeting and gave his support to the campaign.
Speaking on behalf of the Steering committee of West on
Track, Mr. Colman Ó Raghallaigh described the Western
Rail Corridor (WRC) as one of the single most valuable
pieces of infrastructure in the whole island of Ireland.
Welcoming the massive response to the campaign to date, he
said that the railway belonged, in the first instance, to
the people of the West and that its re-opening would herald
the beginning of a new era in transport and development in
the whole western region.
"Communities throughout the region and rail
campaigners all over Ireland are actively seeking the
support of every citizen of our country for this
"The people of the East of Ireland are finding their
daily lives more difficult as a result of unbalanced
development and are increasingly coming to the view that
population growth and development need to be more evenly
distributed. Projects like the WRC will create a
situation where many towns can be developed as a balance
to the current crisis, giving respite to those in the
East and a choice to those who seek to live
He noted the expenditure of euro247m on the Drogheda
bypass and contrasted it with the euro210m estimated cost of
restoring the entire WRC from Sligo to Limerick , including
signalling, crossings, stations and rolling stock.
"No doubt you will all be aware of the reaction
of Minister Brennan to the discredited Strategic Rail
Review and its analysis of the potential cost of the WRC.
In a departure from the report's recommendations, Mr
Brennan said he would like to see the Western Rail
corridor happen and he would keep an open door for
community groups to come back to him. Well Minister, the
communities of the West intend taking you up on that
The campaign launched on Wednesday will feature a
postcard and e-mail campaign to the minister as well as the
collection of 100,000 signatures in a province-wide
petition. There will also be a day of action in July in
every town on the Western Rail corridor. A special campaign
song and newspaper supplement are also planned.