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Hotel Group Chief Executive to head Working Group on Western Rail Corridor

Department of Transport Press Release with names of the working group


The Minister for Transport, Séamus Brennan T.D. and Minister of State, Dr. James McDaid T.D. today (Thursday, 6th May 2004) announced the composition of the Expert Working Group established to examine in detail the potential of the Western Rail Corridor as part of the rail link that would connect Sligo, Galway, Limerick and Cork.

The Working Group will be chaired by Mr. Pat McCann, Chief Executive of Jurys Doyle Hotel Group plc, the country's largest hotel group. Mr. McCann (52), a native of Ballymote, Co. Sligo, has had a distinguished career in the hotel and tourism industry in Ireland and abroad since 1969 when he joined Ryan Hotels. He has been General Manager of Ryans Hotels and Group General Manager and Group Operations Manager of Jurys Hotel Group before being appointed Chief Executive Designate (1998-2000) and Chief Executive in 2000.

Mr. McCann is a past President of the Irish Hotels Federation, served as a Council Member on the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation and European Hotels Federation and has been a member of the National Tourism Council and the Tourism Review Group. He is currently a member of the National Executive of the employers' organisation IBEC.

Minister Brennan said the Group consisted of people of the highest calibre and combined strong leadership qualities at county and regional levels with committed individuals at community level and personnel with expertise in developing railway services and structures.

The full membership of the Working Group is:

  • Chairman Mr. Pat McCann
  • County Councils
    • Clare County Manager Mr. Alec Fleming
    • Galway County Manager Mr. Tom Kavanagh
    • Alternate Mr. John Morgan
    • Mayo County Manager Mr. Des Mahon
    • Roscommon County Manager Mr. John Tiernan
    • Sligo County Manager Mr. Hubert Kearns
    • Limerick County Manager Mr. Edmond Gleeson
    • Cork County Manager Mr. Maurice Moloney
  • Regional Authorities
    • Mr. Jim McGovern, Director, West Regional Authority
    • Mr. Thomas Kirby, Director, Mid West Regional Authority
    • Mr. Matt Donnelly, Director, Border Regional Authority
    • Mr. John Mc Aleer, Director, South West Regional Authority
  • City and County and Development Boards
    • Mr. Frank Dawson, Galway County Development Board
  • Western Development Commission
    • Ms. Lisa McAllister, Chief Executive
  • Inter County Rail Committee
    • Fr. Michéal MacGréil SJ, Westport, Co. Mayo
    • Mr. Terry Byrne, Circular Road Sligo
  • West on Track
    • Mr. Martin Cunniffe, Claremorris, Co. Mayo
    • Councillor Tom McHugh, Tuam, Co. Galway
    • Ms. Helen Rochford-Brennan, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo
  • Iarnród Éireann
    • Mr. Michael Reidy Manager, Programmes and Projects Unit
    • Mr. Tom Finn, Manager, Strategic Planning Unit
  • Railway Procurement Agency
    • Mr. Robert Leech
  • Department of Transport
    • Mr. Ed. O Callaghan

Minister Brennan said; "The Western Rail Corridor has the potential to play a vital strategic role in the eventual rebalancing of the West coast with the East coast, a policy I am strongly committed to as part of the implementation of the National Spatial Strategy. The Strategic Rail Review did not include the Corridor in its recommended investment strategy but I declined to accept that finding as final. After meeting with a number of groups advocating the re-opening of the Corridor and making an extensive tour of the rail route I agreed that the proposal should be carefully evaluated and its potential examined from all relevant perspectives.

"The Working Group I am announcing today will be charged with examining all the possibilities, including the costs and benefits of the proposal, the travel demand that gives rise to the proposal, how the proposal might be funded, and where the Corridor stands in the context of the findings of the National Spatial Strategy, the Strategic Rail Review, the Regional Planning Guidelines, relevant County and City Development Plan, the submissions put forwards in its favour and the current and proposed road investment programmes."

The Minister said all Regional Authorities are currently finalising Planning Guidelines as part of the implementation of the National Spatial Strategy at regional level. One of the core issues that the Working Group will have to carefully consider is the extent to which this rail proposal is facilitated by the land use strategies emerging from these Guidelines.

"As I have stated in the past, the Working Group will not be a talking shop. It will be focussed, proactive and driven by a determination to ask the hard questions and take the hard decisions. I look forward to this Group beginning its work shortly and making progress on rigorously assessing the potential in the short term and long-term of the Western Rail Corridor", Minister Brennan said.








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