Minister Dempsey confirms Government commitment to Western Rail Corridor
Press Release May 1st 2009
First phase to open and planning for Tuam and Claremorris to take place this year
The West on Track Community Campaign has welcomed the statement in Claremorris today by Mr. Noel Dempsey T.D., Minister for Transport, that following the completion of Phase One of the Western Rail Corridor from Ennis to Athenry this summer, the Government intends to continue the roll-out of the railway as outlined in Transport 21.
Addressing more than 300 delegates, MEPs, TDs and councillors from across the West of Ireland, Minister Dempsey strongly reaffirmed the commitment of the Government to balanced regional development and stated his belief that the Western Rail Corridor had an important role to play in delivering the national spatial strategy.
The Minister said that funding had been set aside in the current year to enable Iarnród Éireann to conduct the necessary line surveys to Tuam and Claremorris in order to ascertain up to date costings for these sections.
Praising the community groups from across the region whose hard work had brought about the development of the railway through the West on Track campaign, Mr. Dempsey noted that the success of the first phase of the project would have an important positive influence on the subsequent stages.
Speaking to reporters afterwards a West on Track spokesman said he was “absolutely confident” that there would be strong support for the first phase due to open in late summer. Commending the Minister and the Government, the spokesman said that the Minister’s statement was a clear and unequivocal indication that the Government is intent on pressing ahead with the WRC project as outlined in the Transport 21 programme.
The Conference on the Western Rail Corridor, in Claremorris, Co. Mayo, was jointly organised by the Western Development Commission and West on Track.
In addition to Minister Dempsey, speakers included:
- Mr Éamon Ó Cuív T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
- Mr. Johann Friedrich Colsman, Member responsible for Rail Travel of the Cabinet of the EU Transport Commissioner
- Mr. Anthony D. Smare, UK Rural and Regional railway development advisor
- Mr. Myles McHugh, Iarnród Éireann
- Mr. Howard Knott, Irish Exporters’ Association
- Mr. Jim Deegan, MD, Railtours Ireland
The attendance included Minister of State Dara Calleary, Deputies Beverley Flynn and John O’Mahoney and Jim Higgins MEP. The Minister of Education in the Northern Assembly, Caitríona Ruane, MLA also paid a courtesy visit to the conference.