Western rail link is
needed now say Greens
Galway Advertiser 17th
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
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
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
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.