The Government’s failure to commit to reopening the Western Rail Corridor in the revised National Development Plan is “a missed opportunity for the West”, a Midlands-North-West MEP has said.
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus said that to drive regional development, there is a “critical need for State and EU investment in infrastructure such as the Western Rail Corridor.”
He said that the West is a region in decline, which has been confirmed by the EU’s downgrading of the region to being one ‘in transition’.
“Although the National Development Plan commits to €35 billion spending on transport over the next ten years, it appears that very little of that funding will come to the Western region,” said the MEP.
He said that the reality is that communities in the west will not have a sustainable future in terms of employment unless the Government begins to prioritise investment in the region.
Chris MacManus’ party colleague in Galway Louis O’Hara said that the benefits of reopening the rail line are clearly set out in Dr John Bradley’s report published earlier this year.
The report found that there is a ‘strong business case’ for the reopening of the line.
“The decision is also deeply disappointing from a climate point of view,” said Mr O’Hara.
“At a time when we are being asked to reduce our emissions and use public transport, the reopening of the rail line makes perfect sense and should be a priority for Government.
“It is obvious that the all-island rail review is being used as an excuse to kick the can down the road and delay making a decision on the future of the rail line.”