Rail line won't be built
Sligo Champion - Wednesday
16th June 2004
The Chairman of the Working Group established to examine
the re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor has said the
project is "something that could happen." Ballymote native,
Mr. Pat McCann, Chief Executive of the Jury's Doyle Hotel
Group plc., was speaking following the first meeting of the
group on Monday.
"We have gone into this with an optimistic outlook. There
is no point in doing this exercise otherwise. The inaugural
meeting has put structures in place to investigate a number
of issues and I am delighted we are up and running," he told
The Sligo Champion.
A number of Sub-Committees are to be established to
examine various aspects of the proposal and another major
meeting is planned in late August, or early September. The
Sub-Committees are expected to review areas such as cost
benefit, innovative means of securing funding, and the issue
of Spatial Strategy and Regional Planning in relation to the
"It is something that could happen and we want to move
our deliberations on as quickly as possible," said Mr.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Transport, Seamus Brennan,
who addressed Monday's first meeting of the Working Group,
said that the delivery of a convincing case would justify
the long-term major investment of taxpayers' money in the
"It is time for realism, honesty and straight talking.
This line will not get built purely on sentiment or emotion.
The reality is that if the re-opening of the line is going
to happen, then all of us have to come at it in a hard
headed, practical way," he added. It would be the task of
the Working Group to rigorously assess all aspects of the
proposal, Minister Brennan stated. "At another level, there
is the whole issue of the level of annual subvention that
may be required year after year. The possible re-opening of
sections of the line must also be rigorously assessed and
justified in the context of the whole motorway development,"
The Minister explained that in looking honestly and in a
practical way at the possibilities of re-opening sections of
the line, there must be clear cut and convincing cases made
on social grounds and on economic grounds.
"We need to crunch the figures and reach a state where we
know exactly the level of investment involved. This can best
be achieved by hard work, commitment and dedication on the
part of this Working Group. This Group will not be a talking
shop. I know it will be focussed, proactive and drive by a
determination to take the hard decisions and to make
realistic and achievable recommendations," he went on.
The Minister also underlined that if the Western Rail
Corridor was to re-open, then it would happen in stages.