Minister makes Dáil
Statement re Re-opening of Western Rail Corridor
Speaking in Dáil
Éireann on Tuesday evening May 30th, the Minister of
State at the Department of Transport, Mr. Pat "The Cope"
Gallagher T.D., made the following statement in response to
a question from Deputy Pat Breen (F.G. Clare).
Mr. Gallagher: I thank Deputy Pat Breen for
raising the issue of the western rail corridor. He knows
many of the answers already. The position has not changed.
We aim to ensure that the timescale of which he is aware and
which has been made clear will be adhered to.
Transport 21 provides for the re-opening of the western
rail corridor between Ennis and Claremorris on a phased
basis and the preservation of an alignment as far as
Collooney. The plan also provides for the upgrade of
commuter services on the Athenry to Galway line.
When completed, the western rail corridor will provide a
rail link between the cities of Limerick and Galway with
onward connection to Claremorris. The new line will also
facilitate the provision of intra-regional services within
the Border, midlands and west region. The line between Ennis
and Athenry will be the first section to be developed.
Subject to progress in planning, the indicative timescale
for completion of this first section is 2008
The current position on the project is that
Iarnród Éireann has submitted proposals to my
Department relating to phase one and phase two. These are
being finalised in my Department and the Minister and I
expect to be in a position to make a decision on
Iarnród Éireann's applications and the
allocation of funding in the coming weeks. Transport 21
includes a financial provision to cover the anticipated cost
of the project.
It would be wrong for me to release this commercially
sensitive information until the public procurement process
for this project is completed. I fully appreciate and
understand this business-like attitude. I understand that
the necessary steps to preserve the section of line between
Claremorris and Collooney will be taken this year.
Irrespective of where the funding
comes from, the Deputy can take comfort from the
knowledge that funding will be provided for the western rail
corridor on a phased basis, which I, as a man from the
north-west, fully support.