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West=On=Track - News

Senator Eamon Scanlon Pledges Support for WRC

Press Release
Wednesday Februry 11th 2004

Reopening the Western Rail Corridor, is a logical frontloading of infrastructure, for Co. Sligo and the whole western region. It will act as a major catalyst, to regenerate the social and economic progress of the west, enabling better integration within the region and the country as a whole. From a business perspective, it will help level the playing field, by giving easier access to markets at home and abroad.

The "Jobs for Towns" report, published by the Western Development Commission recently, recognises proximity to the W.R.C. (in tandem with Knock Airport), as a particularly important driver of regional growth. It is in keeping with the National Spatial Strategy objectives and compliments the recently announced decentralization of Government Departments, to Knock and Claremorris.

From a Sligo perspective, the line from Collooney Jct. To Charlestown is included in the Clar renewal area. The nearest designated gateway city to Knock Airport, is Sligo. It is important to provide good road and rail links, between Gateways and Hubs. In the case of the W.R.C., the link is already there. Making it operational, will help redress regional imbalance, at a modest cost to the tax payer.

From a Sligo perspective, it will provide a new service to the west and south. Residents of Sligo, Ballisodare, Collooney, Coolaney, Tubbercurry, Bellaghy/Charlestown and their hinterlands, will be able to use the line as commuters or day-trippers. Third level students, will have the potential to travel to college, on a daily basis, leading to major savings for families. The W.R.C. will provide easy access for tourists to the whole region. Any of the regions hospitals, will be linked by rail, when the line opens. With 81 fatalities from HGV accidents in 2000, the Ministers policy to shift more freight from road to rail, will be facilitated by the railway.

When Arthur J. Balfour sought to "kill Home Rule with kindness", via his "Light Railways Act" of 1889, he failed. However his legacy to counties Sligo and Mayo, was the railway opened in 1895. Let us capitalise on this, the single most important piece of unused infrastructure on the whole island of Ireland and give our area 21st century infrastructure.








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