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West=On=Track - News

Western rail link is needed now say Greens

Galway Advertiser 17th July 2003

by Kernan Andrews

Galway city will be paralysed by traffic congestion, as will the entire west of Ireland, unless a western rail link is provided for the region, according to the Green Party.

This week saw the Green Party announce its support for the campaign by the West=On=Track group for the re-opening of the western rail link. The party supports better public transport services, especially bus and rail. The re-opening of the western rail corridor, including commuter services to Oranmore, Tuam, Gort, and Athenry, and stations in Ballindine, Milltown, Ballyglunin, Craughwell, and Ardrahan, is a central plank of the party's programme.

"Galway is the fastest growing city in Europe," said the party's regional co-ordinator Siobhan Nevin. "Unless the rail link to Sligo, Mayo, Clare, and Limerick is reopened, the city and county will continue to be paralysed in a web of traffic."

Nevin said many people had experienced the frustration and inconvenience of being caught for long periods of time in traffic and finding difficulty in finding parking spaces, both in the city and in towns like Tuam.

"The opening of the western rail corridor would provide people who rely on public transport with more choice and mobility," she said.

"We need to take positive steps in providing better services. An integrated transport system would be one such step" she said. "We already have the track. All we need is the political will to use it."

The promotion of a western rail link has been mooted for several years, but it now appears to be gathering momentum. Recently, on the Tuam road, a number of signs calling for the opening of the western rail link were erected. Also public submissions to the Galway City Development Plan 2005 - 2011 have also called for a western rail corridor.

Connacht-Ulster MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon has long called for such an initiative for the west. Last year Scallon said a western rail link for Ireland was achievable and could even get support from Europe's MEPs. "A western rail link will greatly benefit tourism, industry, and business," she said. "This is a vital link for the long term development of the region."

However the report of the Strategic Rail Review in January questioned its economic viability, drawing criticism from Independent Galway East TD Paddy McHugh who said the report was disturbing for the west of Ireland.








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