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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.








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