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Rabbitte calls for re-opening of Western Rail Corridor

Press Release
Monday 3rd November 2003

The leader of the Labour Party, Mr. Pat Rabbitte T.D., has issued a strong statement of support for the re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor. Speaking following a meeting with representatives of the West on Track campaign in Claremorris on Saturday last, Mr. Rabbitte said that there was no longer any justification for telling people in the West that their infrastructural needs could not be met in the short term.

"The recent revelations in the mid-term review of the National Development Plan about the massive underspend in the BMW region come as a wake-up call to us all. The re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor on a phased basis provides a gilt-edged opportunity for the Government to begin to address the extraordinary imbalance in regional development and to give a vote of confidence to the economic future of towns and communities from Sligo to Limerick."

Mr. Rabbitte pledged the Labour Party's support for any positive initiative from Minister for Transport, Mr. Séamus Brennan leading to the re-opening of the rail corridor but urged the Minister to act quickly while the National Development Plan was still being implemented.

Mr. Michael D. Higgins T.D. (Galway), who accompanied Mr. Rabbitte, said that Labour was throwing its full support behind the WRC campaign because the railway represented value for money and an unrivalled opportunity for economic development in whole region. "In the twenty-first century the West is as entitled to modern infrastructure as any other part of Ireland. For this reason, we in the Labour Party are unequivocally in support of the massive community campaign being co-ordinated by West on Track and intend to pursue it both locally and nationally," said Mr. Higgins.

Noting that Mr. Rabbitte comes from Ballindine, which is situated on the Western Rail Corridor, a spokesman for West on Track described the Labour leader's visit as "very significant," and said that people would be greatly encouraged by his strong commitment to the project.








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