Students call for Western
Rail Corridor to re-open
Western People - Wednesday
6th September 2006
TRANSPORT has been identified as one of the crucial
concerns for students living in County Mayo, as local
projects such as the opening of the Western Rail Corridor,
pledged by the Government as part of the Transport 21 policy
document in November 2005, have yet to get off the
This is according to Kieran O'Malley, Western Area
Officer for the Union of Students in Ireland.
Speaking to the Western People, Kieran pointed out the
deficit between planning and action as regards local
transport: "Frazzled nerves, missed appointments and long
delays are all experiences of local rail and bus travel that
many of us have sadly come to expect. The poor state of
public transport in Mayo has adverse implications for the
economy, environment and quality of life. But for local
students, the lack of decent public transport links brings a
special set of problems. A number of projects under
Transport 21 have yet to see the light of day and as USI
Western Area Officer it's my job to lobby TDs to ensure
these projects are recognised as urgent."
The student officer cites the Western Rail Corridor as
one of the landmark projects under development.
"Once built, the Western Rail Corridor promises to unlock
a new vista of opportunity for young adults living in
communities like Ballina, Castlebar and Westport. Until that
time, young people in these towns will continue to find it
difficult to compete for skilled jobs with their
counterparts from urban centres.
The long-term economic vitality of Mayo is compromised so
long as progress on the Western Rail Corridor continues to
be delayed. That's why I and my colleagues at USI are
urgently lobbying deputies to green-light an immediate start
While the Western Rail Corridor is one missing part of
the transport jigsaw puzzle, according to Kieran, the
planned Ennis to Claremorris rail link is another.
"It seems hard to believe that local people have been
forced to wait two decades for this already.
With political will, I don't doubt that the Ennis to
Claremorris track could be built within two years from now.
The rail corridor is owned by the State and therefore no
expensive land acquisitions would be necessary. For the same
reason, the planning process ought to be short"