Sinn Féin has reiterated its support for reopening the Western Rail Corridor at the party’s Ard Fheis held in Dublin.
Delegates unanimously passed a motion calling for the reopening of the rail line to passenger and freight services.
Addressing delegates on the motion at the weekend, Galway East Sinn Féin representative Louis O’Hara said that the West of Ireland is a region in decline, and that this has been confirmed by the EU’s recent downgrading of the western region to being a region ‘in transition’.
He blamed successive centre-right Governments for the West of Ireland suffering from “underinvestment and a lack of opportunities – particularly for young people.”
“The rail corridor would bring enormous economic benefits to our region by enabling us to compete with other areas of the country in attracting investment and growing jobs, thereby improving the quality of life for those of us who live there,” said Mr O’Hara.
“And at a time when we are being asked to reduce our emissions and use public transport to tackle climate change, the reopening of the rail line makes perfect sense.”
He said the Government is using the all-island rail review as an excuse to kick the can down the road and avoid making a decision on the future of the rail line.
“That simply isn’t good enough, the West of Ireland is in crisis and we need real action now from the Government to turn things around,” he said.
“People in the West are sick of being treated as second class citizens, fed up with underinvestment and no longer willing to accept the lack of jobs and opportunity.”