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Minister Cullen Confirms Roll-out of Western Rail Corridor

Does not favour "stop-start" approach

Press Release 19th April 2007 

The West on Track Community Campaign warmly welcomes the statement today at Ireland-West Knock International Airport, Co. Mayo, by Mr. Martin Cullen T.D., Minister for Transport, that following the scheduled completion of Phase One of the Western Rail Corridor from Ennis to Athenry in 2008, the roll-out of the project will continue immediately to Tuam and Claremorris.

Speaking at a meeting with a West on Track delegation, the Minister said that he did not favour a stop-start approach to the delivery of the project and that he believed that the connection to Claremorris would be more than viable.

The Minister also stated that his Department had set aside more than ¤100million for the first two phases of the corridor to Athenry and Tuam respectively. He also confirmed that major construction work on the first phase of the railway would start next month and that track-laying would soon commence.

Commending the Minister and the Government, a spokesman for West on Track said that the Minister's statement was a clear and unequivocal indication that the Government is intent on pressing ahead with the WRC project from Ennis to Claremorris as part of the Transport 21 programme. He also noted the Minister's commitment to continue the project to Collooney in due course.

"The Minister has today confirmed the Government's intention to proceed directly to Tuam and Claremorris," said a spokesman for West on Track. "This will ensure that the re-opened Phase 1 of the corridor will have the maximum impact in terms of passenger numbers and value for money to the state, because, when completed, it will also connect Castlebar, Ballina and Westport to the WRC network, linking them to Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford."

"This very positive and welcome statement follows the statement by Minister Éamon Ó Cuív at the recent West on Track conference that he was confident that once the project got under way that the timeframe would be comfortably shortened," he added.

He also commended Iarnród Éireann for the professional and speedy manner in which it was progressing the project.

The meeting was attended by West on Track representatives from Tuam, Claremorris and Tubbercurry and was accompanied by Deputy John Carty T.D. and Mr. Ronan Long, President of Tuam Chamber of Commerce.








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