Senator Eamon Scanlon
Pledges Support for WRC
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