Transport plan: Sligo
'will be left behind'
Sligo Champion - Wednesday
17th May 2006
The Government's 'Transport 21' plan was hugely
aspirational, a meeting of Sligo Borough Council was
A motion from Sinn Fein councillors, Chris and Sean
MacManus claimed the Government strategy would leave the
West and North West "further behind."
Clr. Chris MacManus told the meeting that he had placed a
motion on the issue arising from his concerns at remarks
made by Transport Minister Martin Cullen that the thirty
four billion Euro announced for the 'Transport 21' plan
would be spread "fairly evenly" between the greater Dublin
area and the regions.
"Along with not only my Sinn Fein party colleagues but
everybody with an interest of the well being of this region
and particularly Sligo, we were disappointed upon closer
scrutiny of the plan," he said.
"It would seem that further draining of taxpayers money
from the northwest has been compounded by a ten year
Transport Plan that reinforces regional disparity between
"There is now a real danger of a new two-tier Ireland
developing with the West and Northwest being discriminated
against in terms of infrastructural cost, timing and
"For some time Sinn Fein has warned that the government
would proceed with the development of the Western Rail
Corridor in stages only, long fingering Sligo indefinitely.
This is a cynical ploy to divide the many vocal lobby groups
who have been campaigning on this issue.
"Instead of running services between Sligo, Galway and
Limerick and on to Cork within five years the government
have instead promised to commence work in 2006 on the
Claremorris to Ennis section only. The Sligo section
meanwhile is to be treated as a reservation at least as far
as 2014, and that's only if the work is completed on
schedule. This is indeed a far cry from the vision of people
all along this vital rail link.
"Also, much hype has surrounded the announcement of the
proposed Atlantic Road Corridor from Letterkenny through
Sligo and ultimately onto Waterford. While this would be a
very welcome development on closer examination of the
details the results are profoundly disappointing.
"The corridor is not going to be built to motorway
status. In fact much of it will not even be a dual
"Most glaring of all is the apparent complete lack of
reference to the N16.
'Further, the lack of provision of an east-west link from
Sligo to Dundalk, as identified as a priority by the Border
Regional Authority, is again a severe blow to the north-west
"Many members of the public are finding it very difficult
not to view these announcements as a pre-election stunt
coming as they do before the completion of the current
National Development Plan and pre-empting the new NDP due to
be published next year.
"The interesting detail about all these projects is that
none of them are due for completion before the next general
election in 2007. If so, then it has focused primarily on
the greater Dublin region leading one to conclude that this
current government is taking the electorate of the Northwest
for granted," he added.
Clr. Sean MacManus said the plan was hugely aspirational
and was a rehash of previous ministerial announcements.
"It has also appeared to have disappeared into the same
black hole as PPARS and electronic voting," he said.
The idea of major route from Letterkenny to Waterford was
good but at best all that would be done would be a single
carriageway road or a two plus one road, he said.
Clr. MacManus said it had been claimed by Deputy Jimmy
Devins that the Sligo to Belfast road would be upgraded as
far as Blacklion but there wasn't a word about the N16 in
the plan and it would be 2017 before it would be done.
"It's only right that we ask Minister Cullen to come down
here and tell us what he is doing for the infrastructure of
the North West," said Clr. MacManus.